Dylan Cease (SP-CHW) dazzled against the Tigers on Sunday afternoon, tossing 7 shutout innings in which he scattered 5 hits and a walk while racking up 10 punchouts. He tossed 67 of his 99 pitches for strikes in the outing. The 25 year-old righty seems to be in the midst of a breakout, as he now owns a 3.36 ERA, 11.4 K/9, and 4.1 BB/9 through his first 12 starts (61.2 innings) of the campaign. The control issues - which he had under, uh, control on Sunday - have limited his ability to pitch deeper than 5 or so innings into most of his games, but his ability to miss bats (15% swinging-strike rate) is exciting. Opposing batters, moreover, have not made much hard contact against Cease, as Statcast shows a 34% hard-hit rate. A 3.98 xFIP does indicate that there could be some correction to the mean going forward, with a 7.6% HR/FB being the only real red flag there - after all, his FIP is actually lower than his ERA at 3.17. He lines up for a rematch with Detroit next week, this time in the Motor City.
Luis Garcia (SP-HOU) tossed 6 innings of 1-run ball against Toronto on Sunday, giving up 3 hits and walking 2 while fanning 8. He threw 53 of his 79 pitches for strikes in the outing. After not pitching more than 5.1 innings through April and most of May, Garcia has now completed 6+ innings in each of his last 3 starts, and has allowed exactly 1 run in each of those outings. The 24 year-old now owns a 2.75 ERA, 10.4 K/9, and 2.9 BB/9 through 10 starts and 2 relief appearances (59 innings). His 3.93 xFIP does suggest that some regression could be coming, though, as a .232 BABIP and 87% strand rate are both on the lucky side of things. Garcia does give up some hard contact (39% per Statcast) and opposing batters have hit plenty of flyballs against him (49%). A 12.5% swinging-strike rate is solid, but Garcia's stuff (93-mph heater) isn't exactly overwhelming. But he does mix things up a good bit, deploying that fastball 48% of the time while mixing in a cutter (20%), slider (16%), change-up (9%), and curve (8%). He lines up for a start in Minnesota next week.
Cedric Mullins (OF-BAL) went 3-4 with a solo homer, a 2B, 2 walks, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored against Cleveland on Sunday. The 26 year-old is putting together a very productive campaign, as he is now batting .322 with 9 homers, 18 RBI, 32 runs scored, and 9 stolen bases through 255 plate appearances. Mullins is acquitting himself very well in the leadoff spot, drawing walks at a 10% clip and fanning 18% of the time while getting on base at a healthy .390 clip. Statcast shows a career-best 40% hard-hit rate to go with a career-low 42% groundball rate which has contributed to his power outburst. If you have doubts about his ability to continue hitting homers, his 12% HR/FB isn't astronomical by any means, even if one considers his 9% career rate in that department. Overall, it appears that Mullins is taking a big step forward in 2021 and should not still be sitting on any waiver wires in fantasy.
Bobby Bradley (1B-CLE) made his first start since returning to the majors following the DFA of Jake Bauers and he performed well at the dish, going 3-4 with a homer, a 2B, 3 RBI, and 2 runs scored against the Orioles on Sunday. The promotion largely reflected the franchise's fatigue with Bauers, as Bradley was batting just .196 through his first 109 plate appearances of the campaign in Triple-A, although he did hit 9 dingers and drive in 19 runs. As usual, the 25 year-old was fanning at a high rate (32%) and, uncharacteristically, not drawing a bunch of walks (6%). Bradley struggled in his MLB debut back in 2019, batting just .178 with a homer and 4 RBI while fanning at a 41% rate, although he did hit the few balls with which he made contact with some authority (40% hard-hit rate and 91 mph average exit velocity). Bradley is worth keeping an eye on - and perhaps worthy of a speculative add if you have a fluid roster spot - because of his power potential but one has to expect his past contact issues to continue.
Jo Adell (OF-LAA) is mashing in Triple-A, as he is now batting .276 with 15 homers, 29 RBI, and 3 stolen bases through his first 125 plate appearances of the season (entering Sunday's action). The 22 year-old scuffled in his first taste of the majors last year, as he hit just .161 with 3 dingers, 7 RBI, and 9 runs scored across 132 plate appearances. It's worth noting, however, that he has continued to fan a lot this season (30%) while not drawing many walks (5%) this season. And his batted ball profile shows a flyball-heavy approach (48%) with few liners (10%) and a fairly heavy pull tendency (43%). The intriguing blend of power and speed is what will get him back in the majors before too long, especially if he continues to produce in Triple-A. But whether he's able to make enough contact to offer a useful average remains the big question.
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