We are one week into a six-month journey that we call regular season baseball. And to help along the journey we can break it down week by week. As with every year, teams and players get off to hot starts, cold starts, or average starts. After consuming over 70 games of baseball already here are Five American League players that have been impressive through one week.
Raise your hand if you knew who Yermin Mercedes is? That’s right. I’m willing to bet that the vast majority of us had never heard of Yermin Mercedes prior to this season. His road to the show was all but easy. He signed with the Washington Nationals out of the Dominican Republic in 2011. Mercedes was acquired by the White Sox in the 2017 Rule 5 draft. After a couple of injuries hurt the White Sox late in spring training Mercedes earned a crack at the opening day roster. He started the season going 8 for 8. He is the first player in the modern era to start a season with 8 consecutive hits. His ability to hit is what is going to keep him in the majors for a long time. He has a career .302 batting average in the minors and so far this season he has a .565 average. That is completely unsustainable but regardless he is proving early that he is here to murder baseballs.
YERMIN MERCEDES OH MY LORD 😱
— Sox On 35th (@SoxOn35th) April 8, 2021
Through two starts this year Matt Boyd has a 2.13 ERA in 12 2/3 innings pitched. I don’t know if a single person saw this coming from Boyd. He has a career 5.02 ERA over the course of 136 games. Boyd also holds 55 losses to his name in his 7 years in the league. He even led the league last year in losses with 7 in 12 starts. Boyd has always been able to strike guys out. He has a career 8.8 K/9 which surprisingly is down a tad in his two starts this year. But he looks sharp through two games. In his start against the Twins, Boyd threw 96 pitches. 77 of them were strikes. And 24 of the 27 batters he faced saw strikes on the first pitch. Boyd finally looks like he is starting to put it together and if he continues to hammer the strike zone the Tigers finally have an ace again.
John Means made his debut in 2018 and got his first real shot at a starting job in 2019. In 27 starts in 2019 means posted a 3.60 ERA while collecting 12 wins. He was an all-star that year and finished 2nd in rookie of the year voting. This season he took the mound as the opening day starter for Baltimore. He went 7 scoreless innings against the Boston Red Sox and collected 5 strikeouts. In his 2nd start, he only went 4 2/3 innings but he only gave up one run to the Yankees. Baltimore is 2-0 in games that Means starts this season and the southpaw looks to be an anchor in that Baltimore rotation.
John Means today
5 Ks (O 4.5✅)
— Bet The Bases (@betthebases) April 2, 2021
Another Oriole that makes this list for me is Cedric Mullins. He is the new everyday centerfielder in Baltimore. HE was a 13th round draft pick out of Campbell university back in 2015. After a couple of years in the O’s system, he made his debut in 2018. In last year’s shortened season Mullins posted a .271/.315/.407 slash line. This season Mullins is off to a hot start recording at least one hit in each of the Orioles’ first seven games. including a 5 hit game against the Red Sox on Sunday afternoon. The Orioles need a lot of pieces in order to complete the puzzle but the emergence of Mullins brings them one step closer to solving it.
Nate Lowe was traded to the Rangers during the offseason from the Tampa Bay Rays. In 71 games in a Rays uniform, Lowe posted a .251 batting average. In six games with the Rangers Lowe is batting .320 and 3 home runs. He is also currently leading the majors with 14 RBI. An increased walk rate from 2019 to 2020 suggested that he is becoming more patient and selective at the plate. He ranks in the top 6% of the league in barrel rate, and top 8% in average exit velocity. Lowe has a lot of power and the Rangers letting him swing away is looking to be the right decision.
Nate Lowe has 14 RBI in only 20 ABs. 😳 pic.twitter.com/ZHRbcgcEGx
— MLB (@MLB) April 7, 2021
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