A few stellar performances propelled some fresh names into this list. Let’s take a look at the Studs and Duds for the week of August 15 to August 21.
Offensive stud: Luke Voit (1B, Yankees). With 3 home runs, 3 doubles, 13 RBI and a killer slash line of .500/.536/.962 these past seven games, Voit looks like he’s back on track after struggling with injuries and underperformance for most of the season. Following his breakout campaign in 2020—as much of a breakout as it could be, since it was only 60 games—Voit was set to become one of baseball’s best sluggers. He led the American League with 22 home runs after mashing 36 in 572 at-bats between 2018 and 2019. He took a step back this year, unfortunately, and didn’t hit his first home run until May 17.
Honorable mention: Jose Ramirez (IF, Indians; .357/.400/.929, 4 HR, 4 2B, 10 RBI).
Offensive dud: Rodolfo Castro (2B, Pirates). Gavin Lux breathes a sigh of relief; He’s finally off this list. Castro, a 22-year-old rookie, has struggled to a .198 batting average this year, and his past few days only brought it down. He went 2-for-16 with 9 strikeouts and 2 errors, with his hits being measly singles. He didn’t score a run or drive one in, but he got his on-base percentage over .200 by drawing a couple walks. Castro jumped from Double A to the majors and its fairly apparent—he is overmatched in the big leagues and needs some Triple A seasoning.
Dishonorable mention: Gavin Lux (IF, Dodgers; 0-for-6, 1 K, 2 E). I couldn’t let him escape that easy.
Pitching stud: Triston McKenzie (SP, Indians). After nearly tossing a perfect game two starts ago, allowing only one hit in the 8th inning, McKenzie twirled another masterpiece yesterday, surrendering just 1 run in 7 innings. Over his past 15 frames, McKenzie struck out 19 batters; he’s given up just 3 hits, 1 walk and 1 earned run, and he didn’t sully his line with a wild pitch or a hit batsmen. He won both his starts. The hurler is perpetually ranked among the games top prospects, with Baseball America putting him at #26 on their list going into 2021. After an impressive debut last year (3-2 W-L, 3.24 ERA, 11.3 K/9 IP), he struggled out of the gate his sophomore season, with an ERA of 6.89 through late May. He’s dropped that number over 2 points since.
Honorable mention: Gerrit Cole (SP, Yankees; 2-0 W-L, 0.77 ERA, 11 2/3 IP, 15 K, 2 BB).
Pitching dud: Adam Ottavino (RP, Red Sox). It’s a glorious day for Duds Emeritus, as Jorge Lopez loses his title, held for more than half-a-week, and bestows it upon Ottavino. Ottavino’s line isn’t all bad—he tossed 2 1/3 innings, allowing 3 hits and a run—but wildness, which has been his bane through his career, caught up to him. He surrendered 4 walks and 2 wild pitches. Chucking the ball past the catcher is his forte—in fact, on June 25, 2017 against the Rockies, he did it 4 times in 1 inning (clarification: He threw one inning’s worth of outs, they were spread over two frames), including two in a row. Despite averaging 4.1 BB/9 IP for his career, he was one of the best relievers of the 2010s, posting a 159 ERA+ from 2013 to 2019. He averaged 12 K/9 IP from 2015 to 2020.
Dishonorable mention: Nick Mears (RP, Pirates; 2 G, 1 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 18.00 ERA, 1 BSV).