These Struggling MLB Stars Are Best Bet To Bounce Back

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Here’s our second dive into baseball trends and sports betting this week, in what will hopefully be a twice-weekly column. See my previous entry here.

Take A Chance On These Stars To Rebound

Francisco Lindor, Mets:
The last time a Francisco made this poor of an impression was Francisco Pizarro in Peru in 1532. Those were the days, huh?

Lindor was traded to the Mets this past January, and on the eve of opening day the team inked their new shortstop to a 10-year, $341 million extension that will keep the All-Star, Gold Glover in the orange-and-blue through 2032. So, fans better get used to their new superstar. But unfortunately, about seven weeks into the 2021 season, Lindor is hitting more like Bud Harrelson (Google him, young fans) than an MVP contender.

Don’t count on that to continue. Lindor is 27 years old, immensely gifted, and in his last two pre-Covid seasons, he averaged 35 homers, 23 steals, and a .518 slugging percentage. It may be too late for the man they call “Mr. Smiles” to win the MVP award, but I wouldn’t bet against him posting similar numbers when this season has concluded. Unlike Pizarro, this Francisco is good news for the settlers of this island.

Betting Note: Lindor is currently +2000 to win the NL Most Valuable Player Award, according to DraftKings.

Trevor Story, Rockies:
Here’s a baseball truism: it’s always a good bet that a Rockies hitter can get red-hot over a month or two stretch. The thin air and small park dimensions are favorable, especially for dead-red fastball hitters like Story. Thus far in ’21, the shortstop meandering along with a ho-hum 99 OPS+. But the former first round pick has a career 303/368/610(!) slash line at Coors Field. Even if the rumors are true and Story is dealt somewhere (Yankees seem a possibility), he can still rake, especially in the American League where pitchers will have to learn his tendencies.

Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals:
Still only 33 years old, Goldy is the type of hitter who needs warm weather to get his bat heated up. His career slash line in June and July is 310/411/556. He hit his 250th career homer earlier this season, and while his MVP candidate days may be behind him, his sweet right-handed swing still has plenty of knocks in it.

Eugenio Suárez, Reds:
It may be tempting to think that you could hit .158 in the big leagues (as Suárez currently is), but it’s not as easy as you might think. This is, after all, The Year Of The Pitcher, and spin rates are off the charts. But Suárez is a legit home-run leader candidate: in his last full season, he hit 49 bombs. He’s bound to get into a groove, and while his batting average may not approach his career .256 mark (entering the ’21 season), Suárez will get that slugging percentage up, and maybe reach 35+ home runs again. In 2019, the Cincy infielder blasted 29 homers after the All-Star break.

Madison Bumgarner, Diamondbacks:
In my column earlier this week I mentioned how we’re probably going to see a record number of no-hitters this season. The day that article was published, Spencer Turnbull tossed the fifth no-hitter of the young season.

If I was going to slap money down on a big-name pitcher tossing a no-hitter this season, MadBum would be my pick. On April 26th, the grouchy lefty actually tossed seven innings of no-hit ball, in a doubleheader-shortened game, that MLB has deemed does not fit the criteria of a no-no.

This week the 31-year southpaw exited a start with a minor injury, but assuming he isn’t shelved, I would expect Bumgarner to have an excellent final four months of the season. He’s always been a second-half pitcher, he’s pitching in a park that’s conducive to his approach, and he seems eager to prove himself after struggling in his first season with the Snakes.

Odds For MVP & Cy Young Awards

Based on futures bets odds averages between FanDuel, DraftKings, and WynnBET.

American League Most Valuable Player Odds:

  1. Shohei Ohtani: +133
  2. Vlad Guerrero Jr.: +775
  3. Mike Trout: +1050
  4. Aaron Judge: +1550
  5. J.D. Martinez: +1650

National League Most Valuable Player Odds:

  1. Ronald Acuna: +275
  2. Fernando Tatis Jr.: +800
  3. Jacob deGrom: +800
  4. Juan Soto: +1000
  5. Mookie Betts: +1200

American League Cy Young Award

  1. Gerrit Cole: +150
  2. Shane Bieber: +300
  3. Tyler Glasnow: +450
  4. Lance Lynn: +1300
  5. Lucas Giolito: +1800

Betting Note: Be wary of Glasnow, even though his K/BB rate looks superb. There’s a lot of reasons the Rays will struggle this season, and there are plenty of voters who have bad feelings about this franchise and wouldn’t vote for one of their pitchers for this award. I’m not saying, I’m just saying.

National League Cy Young Award

  1. Jacob deGrom: +125
  2. Corbin Burnes: +500
  3. Trevor Bauer: +1300
  4. Aaron Nola: +1300
  5. Yu Darvish: +2000

Betting Note: Bauer at +1300 looks like a great futures bet. He plays on a good team, he’s coming off the Cy Young season, and he’s bound to get into a prime-career groove.

Crazy Stat Alert

The Seattle Mariners have now been no-hit four times in their last 171 games.

Another Special Baseball Moment This Week

This week the old “Unwritten Rules of Baseball” are back in the headlines. On Monday, Yermin Mercedes, a 28-year old rookie who is hitting like Ty Cobb, smacked a home run on a 3-0 pitch. What’s wrong with that, you say? Well, it happened with his team ahead by 11 runs in the ninth inning. According to baseball’s “rules we shall not name,” Mercedes was supposed to idle. But instead he swung away, hitting a 47 MPH(!) “fast” ball from a position player who was mopping up the game to save the Twins a reliever.

After the game, Mercedes, who is hitting over .360 with six homers and 25 RBI in the young season, said of the controversy: “I’m Yermin, that’s how I play. I play my game.”

That wasn’t good enough for everyone, especially Hall of Fame White Sox manager Tony La Russa, who spends his spare time as the man in the “Man Yells At Cloud” meme.

“He made a mistake,” La Russa told reporters. “There will be a consequence he has to endure here within our family.”

Mercedes has spent nearly a decade in the minor leagues battling his way to become a major leaguer. Here he is, finally earning a paycheck in The Show, and he has to face a “consequence” for doing his job. What was Mercedes supposed to do, let the Twins strike him out because his team was way ahead?

Unwritten rules are unwritten for a reason: they don’t mean anything.

About the Author
Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes

Writer and Contributor
Dan Holmes is a writer and contributor for Gaming Today with plenty of experience under his belt. Dan has written three books about sports and previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. Currently, Dan is residing in Michigan with his family.

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