Vladimir Guerrero Sr. never recorded a three-homer game over the course of his incredible 16-year Hall of Fame career, but his son Vladimir Guerrero Jr. carved his name into the record books on Tuesday evening, becoming the seventh-youngest hitter in major-league history to record a three-homer game at 22 years and 42 days old.
Guerrero Jr. launched three home runs and drove in seven runs, powering the upstart Blue Jays to a decisive 9-5 victory over the Nationals. In a month highlighted by extraordinary individual feats and accomplishments from hitters and pitchers alike, the fledgling superstar’s incredible hat trick performance -- becoming the youngest hitter in baseball history to record three homers and seven RBI in a single game -- belongs in that rarified air. He kicked off the surreal performance by clobbering a go-ahead, grand slam to left field off veteran righty Max Scherzer in the third inning. Perhaps his most impressive feat of the historic effort came two innings later when he tattooed a 110.5 mph 436-foot line drive to left-center field off the Nationals’ ace. He capped off the hat trick by crushing a two-run blast to the opposite field against righty Kyle Finnegan in the seventh inning.
This isn’t an isolated incident. Guerrero Jr. has been sizzling at the dish during the opening month of the 2021 campaign and is now slashing .360/.484/.693 with 15 runs scored, seven round-tripper’s and 19 RBI across 93 plate appearances. He’s even chipped in a stolen base for good measure. He won’t sustain this level of stratospheric production over the course of a full season, but he’s consistently displayed the off-the-metaphorical-charts raw power that made him a potential once-in-a-generation hitting prospect during his minor-league career. Per Statcast data, he’s recorded a whopping 29 batted balls with an exit velocity in excess of 100 mph through 22 games this season. To put that in context, he’s trailing only Manny Machado and Ronald Acuña Jr. in that department this season. Perhaps more importantly, he’s putting the ball in the air with much greater frequency, exponentially increasing his average launch angle to put more of those hard-hit batted balls in the air via line-drives and fly balls as opposed to earlier in his career. From a fantasy perspective, Guerrero Jr. is rapidly evolving into a four-category fantasy superstar and it may not take much longer before he’s one of the most feared sluggers in the entire game. The long-awaited breakout is finally happening, folks.
Starting Pitchers with an EDGE
Cristian Javier vs. Mariners
7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K
29% CSW, 14 swinging strikes
Javier spilled an entire cup of coffee on his uniform while walking out to the bullpen to warm up before the game, which turned out to be the only blemish against him the entire night. The 24-year-old righty spun a seven-inning gem in his longest outing of the season, allowing only five baserunners. He’s been sensational for the Astros, compiling a microscopic 0.87 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and 26/6 K/BB ratio across 20 2/3 innings (four starts) this season. He’s in line for a tasty matchup against the Rays on Sunday.
Walker Buehler vs. Reds
6.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 10 K
40% CSW, 17 swinging strikes
Buehler recorded a season-high 10 strikeouts, generated an eye-popping 17 swinging strikes and finished with a stratospheric 40 percent CSW (called strikes plus whiffs). Yet, he was also victimized by persistent hard contact, which prevented this outing from being truly special. He surrendered seven batted balls with an exit velocity over 95 mph, including a leadoff homer to Jesse Winker, and was charged with a season-high five runs. The hard-throwing 26-year-old righty had surrendered two earned runs or fewer in four consecutive starts to open the 2021 campaign. He'll carry a 3.16 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 31/2 K/BB ratio across 31 1/3 innings (five starts) into a road tilt against the Brewers on Sunday.
Ian Anderson vs. Cubs
7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K
37% CSW, 17 swinging strikes
There weren’t a ton of standout pitching performances as the hitters took center stage during Tuesday’s fully-loaded slate, but Anderson stepped up to author his most dominant performance of the 2021 campaign, allowing just one baserunner over seven shutout frames. He induced a season-high 17 swinging strikes and finished with an elite 37 percent CSW (called strikes plus whiffs). He’ll lock horns with the Nationals in a road tilt his next time out on Tuesday.
Garrett Richards vs. Mets
7.0 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K
42% CSW, 19 swinging strikes
Well, this certainly came out of nowhere. Richards came into the inter-league contest with a bloated 6.48 ERA, 1.86 WHIP and 12/13 K/BB ratio over 16 2/3 innings, but managed to put together his finest outing in a long time. A solo shot by Jeff McNeil in the second inning was the only blemish as he scattered six hits otherwise and didn’t hand out a free pass for the first time in five starts this season. It was his first double-digit strikeout effort since April 21, 2018. He’ll look to keep the momentum going his next time out against the Rangers on Sunday.
Jakob Junis vs. Pirates
6.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K
36% CSW, 13 swinging strikes
Junis has flown under the radar, quietly compiling one of the best seasons of any pitcher in the American League so far. He made quick work of the rebuilding Pirates inducing 13 swinging strikes and posting an elite 36 percent CSW. He’s been consistent enough that fantasy managers should consider him a strong streaming option against the Indians at home on Monday.
Hitters with an EDGE
Franmil Reyes vs. Twins
3-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI
Reyes has been on an absolute tear, crushing four homers over his last six games. The 25-year-old middle-of-the-order masher kicked off the two-homer effort against Kenta Maeda with a 452-foot moonshot to left field in the second inning before clobbering a 434-foot drive to nearly the same location later on in the contest. All three of his hits registered exit velocities over 100 mph (111.3 mph, 101.5 mph and 111.3 mph). He’s hitting .308/.337/.679 with 13 runs scored, seven homers, 17 RBI and one stolen base across 83 plate appearances.
Jesse Winker vs. Dodgers
3-for-5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI
Winker homered for the second consecutive at-bat in the series, launching a leadoff homer against Walker Buehler in the opening frame. It was his sixth round-tripper of the season. He also added a game-tying RBI single in the fifth inning and doubled in the ninth. The 27-year-old outfielder has been scorching-hot at the dish recently, going deep in three straight games and five times over his last six games. He's hitting .397/.443/.740 with 16 runs scored, six homers and 15 RBI in 79 plate appearances. He should be rostered in all fantasy formats.
Trea Turner vs. Blue Jays
2-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI
There was some cause for concern earlier in this week after Turner suffered a forearm contusion when he was hit by a pitch on Sunday, but he showed no ill effects, crushing a pair of solo homers off Trent Thornton, in his return to the Nationals’ lineup. It was his seventh career multi-homer game and sixth time he’s gone deep out of the leadoff spot, which is good for the franchise’s (Nationals/Expos) all-time record. The dynamic 27-year-old shortstop went deep twice in the first three innings, but was ultimately overshadowed by Vladimir Guerrero’s Jr.’s legendary exploits later in the contest. He’s up to seven round-trippers on the season to go along with five stolen bases in 83 plate appearances.
Ronald Acuña Jr. vs. Cubs
1-for-4, R, HR, RBI
He’s back, folks. Acuña Jr. clobbered a gargantuan 481-foot solo homer to left field off Trevor Williams to put the Braves ahead for good in the fifth inning. It was his major league-leading eighth round-tripper of the season and first time he’s gone deep since suffering a mild abdominal strain last week. The 23-year-old fantasy superstar owns a sublime .355/.457/.776 triple-slash line with 23 runs scored, eight homers, 17 RBI and three stolen bases across 92 plate appearances. He’s been the most valuable hitter in the entire fantasy landscape this season.
Ryan McMahon vs. Giants
1-for-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB
McMahon put the Rockies ahead with a two-run shot to right-center field -- his eighth round-tripper of the season -- against Gregory Santos in the 10th inning. The 26-year-old infielder is now tied with Acuña Jr. and Rhys Hoskins for the major-league lead in the home run department. Unreal. He's hitting .273/.304/.591 with 17 runs scored, eight homers, 15 RBI and one stolen base in 92 plate appearances.
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Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said Tuesday that Alex Colome is being moved to a lower-leverage role. The decision doesn’t come as much of a shock after the veteran stopper served up a go-ahead homer in Monday’s loss to the Indians. He was summoned to work the eighth inning on Tuesday and surrendered two runs on three walks and a hit batter. Yikes. He’s allowed 15 runs (nine earned) over 8 2/3 innings this season. Left-hander Taylor Rogers is the most likely candidate to ascend to the closer’s role and should be rostered in all fantasy formats.
Has there been a changing of the guard in Cincinnati? With Amir Garrett struggling, the Reds turned to grizzled veteran Sean Doolittle to protect a one-run lead against the Dodgers on Tuesday evening. The 34-year-old southpaw got the job done by getting Corey Seager to pop up, freezing Justin Turner and inducing a game-ending pop up from Max Muncy. He's worthy of a speculative roster spot for fantasy managers in deeper mixed leagues on the chance that he takes over the closer role and runs with it.
Closer Quick Hits: James Karinchak was summoned to record a four-out save against the Twins on Tuesday, preserving a three-run lead to notch his second save of the season, because primary stopper Emmanuel Clase had pitched in three of the team’s previous four games … Matt Barnes struck out a pair of batters in a perfect ninth inning, silencing the Mets to collect his fifth save of the season … Richard Rodriguez hurled a perfect ninth inning, shutting down the Royals to net his fourth save of the year … Diego Castillo allowed a solo homer to Sean Murphy, but struck out a pair of batters and managed to hang onto a two-run lead against the Athletics to collect his fifth save … Alex Reyes whiffed two batters and hurled a scoreless ninth inning against the Phillies to pick up his sixth save … Josh Hader spun a perfect ninth inning versus the Marlins to net his fifth save … Ryan Pressly twirled a perfect final frame against the Mariners to record his third save … Gregory Soto silenced the White Sox to nail down his third save … Carlos Estevez notched a save for the Rockies in extra innings after Daniel Bard surrendered a game-tying solo homer in a blown save against the Giants … Joakim Soria (calf) will pitch in an alternate training site game on Tuesday. If all goes smoothly, the veteran reliever could be back with the Diamondbacks -- and an option for save opportunities -- sometime later this week. He's been out since April 6 with a left calf strain.
EDGE Priority Pickup
Tyrone Taylor, OF, Brewers
With Christian Yelich sidelined for the foreseeable future due to a lingering back injury, Taylor has stepped into a prominent role atop the Brewers lineup. The 27-year-old outfielder appears to be penciled in as manager Craig Counsell’s preferred leadoff option against left-handed pitching moving forward, especially after he went 3-for-4 with a solo homer in that role against the Marlins on Tuesday evening. A former second-round selection back in 2012, Taylor doesn’t project as an everyday outfielder long-term, but he’s got the defensive chops to handle center field and enough speed to make an impact on the bases. With series coming up against the Dodgers, Phillies and Marlins, he’ll get plenty of chances to see southpaws and could do some serious damage. It’s an extremely small sample, but he’s hitting .474/.565/.895 with two homers, seven RBI and two steals in 23 plate appearances so far. There’s definitely some power/speed combo juice to be squeezed for fantasy managers in deeper mixed leagues over the next few weeks.
Wednesday’s Matchup of the Day
deGrom is the best pitcher in the entire galaxy. The flame-throwing 32-year-old righty owns a microscopic 0.31 ERA, 0.55 WHIP and 50/3 K/BB ratio across 29 innings to open the 2021 campaign. He’s recorded at least 14 strikeouts in each of his last three starts. With a plethora of historical implications at stake, and endless comparisons to Pedro Martinez’s legendary 1999 campaign on tap over the course of this one, it's a must-see showdown. Clear out the schedule and make sure that you don’t miss this one.
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American League Quick Hits: White Sox placed OF Luis Robert on the COVID-19 injured list. It's being called a precautionary measure as he undergoes further testing for a flu-like illness … Nick Solak went 3-for-4 with a pair of solo homers, leading the Rangers to a blowout win over the Angels. It was his first career multi-homer effort … Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Kyle Higashioka launched solo homers to lead the Yankees to a victory over the Orioles … Jose Ramirez went 2-for-4 with a solo homer in the Indians’ win over the Twins … Byron Buxton (knee) went 2-for-4 with his seventh round-tripper of the season in his return to the Twins' starting lineup in a losing effort against the Indians … Bobby Dalbec blasted a solo homer in the Red Sox’ win over the Mets … Miguel Cabrera, Jonathan Schoop and Niko Goodrum homered in the Tigers’ win over the White Sox … Cavan Biggio went 3-for-3 out of the leadoff spot in the Blue Jays’ win over the Nationals … Francisco Mejia went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and a run scored in the Rays’ win over the Athletics … Sean Murphy swatted a solo homer, going deep for the second consecutive game, in the Athletics’ loss to the Rays … Lucas Giolito recorded seven strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings in a loss to the Tigers … Aaron Civale allowed four runs over 7 2/3 innings to pick up a win against the Twins … Corey Kluber whiffed five batters over 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball in a win over the Orioles … Frankie Montas allowed three runs over six innings in a loss to the Rays … Framber Valdez (finger) has been cleared to begin facing live hitters. Astros pitching coach Brent Strom told reporters Tuesday that Valdez is "way ahead of schedule" in his recovery from a fractured left ring finger and that he is "trying to press this faster than our medical (team) wants him to." He’ll need to build up his pitch count over the next few weeks before he’s an option to rejoin the Astros' starting rotation … Alex Verdugo (hamstring) was held out of the Red Sox’ starting lineup Tuesday against the Mets … He’s been sidelined since experiencing tightness in his left hamstring on Saturday, but the team hopes he’ll be able to return on Wednesday … George Springer (quad) was not activated from the injured list Tuesday … Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said Tuesday that Teoscar Hernandez (COVID-19) is "close" to returning. He also added that Hyun-Jin Ryu (glute) might not have to miss a turn in the team's starting rotation. The veteran southpaw made an early exit from his last turn in the rotation Sunday against the Rays after suffering a right glute strain, but it’s apparently a relatively minor injury … Lance Lynn (trapezius) is set to return to the White Sox rotation Saturday against the Indians … Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said Tuesday that Miguel Sano is running "fairly close to 100 percent." He also added that Max Kepler has cleared COVID-19 protocols … Salvador Perez (thumb) returned to the Royals’ lineup Tuesday against the Pirates. The veteran backstop was forced to exit Monday's contest due to right thumb discomfort … Dean Kremer will start for the Orioles on Wednesday versus the Yankees … Yankees recalled Tyler Wade from their alternate training site … Mariners claimed INF Jack Mayfield off waivers from the Angels … Hector Rondon has retired from baseball.
National League Quick Hits: Jazz Chisholm has been diagnosed with a strained left hamstring. The electrifying 23-year-old infielder suffered the injury while running the bases in the top of the first inning Tuesday night against the Brewers. No word on the severity of the strain yet, but he’s likely ticketed for the 10-day injured list … Giants acquired OF Mike Tauchman from the Yankees in exchange for LHP Wandy Peralta and a player to be named later … Tommy Edman and Paul Goldschmidt walloped two-run doubles to power the Cardinals past the Phillies … C.J. Cron went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, two walks and three runs scored in the Rockies' win over the Giants in an extra-inning marathon … Colin Moran went 3-for-4 with an RBI in the Pirates’ narrow win over the Royals … Jeff McNeil slugged a solo homer in the Mets’ loss to the Red Sox … Bryce Harper went 2-for-4 with a stolen base in the Phillies’ loss to the Cardinals … Carson Kelly went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer to lead the Diamondbacks past the Padres … Jesus Aguilar and Jon Berti went deep in the Marlins’ loss to the Brewers … Max Scherzer was tagged for seven runs (five earned) in a loss to the Blue Jays … Trevor Williams struck out eight batters over five innings of two-run ball in a loss to the Braves … Carlos Martinez was charged with two runs (one earned) over 7 1/3 frames in a win over the Phillies … Zach Eflin struck out eight batters, but also surrendered five runs over 6 2/3 innings in a loss to the Cardinals … Chris Paddack was charged with five runs (three earned) over 5 1/3 innings in a loss to the Diamondbacks … Adrian Houser struck out seven batters over 5 2/3 innings, and also hit a solo homer, in a win over the Marlins … Kole Calhoun was removed from Tuesday night's game against the Padres due to an apparent leg injury … Cardinals placed Yadier Molina on the 10-day injured list with a right foot strain. The 38-year-old backstop suffered the injury on Friday night against the Reds and has tried to play through it, but he needs more time for treatment and rest … Cody Bellinger (calf) will head to the Dodgers' alternate training site later this week to resume taking live at-bats … Reds activated Mike Moustakas from the 10-day injured list. The 32-year-old third baseman missed exactly 10 days with a non-COVID illness … Javier Baez (hamstring) was absent from the Cubs’ starting lineup for the second straight game on Tuesday … Mets manager Luis Rojas said Tuesday that an MRI on Brandon Nimmo's right hip showed a "mild impingement." He was held out of the Mets’ starting lineup on Tuesday and could be headed to the injured list … Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said Tuesday that a follow-up MRI on Ketel Marte's right hamstring showed “healing.” He’s been sidelined since suffering a severe hamstring injury on April 7. There is no timetable for his return … Ke'Bryan Hayes (wrist) is expected to resume swinging a bat later this week. The 24-year-old third baseman injured his left wrist back on April 3 and then reaggravated the ailment last week, but he is just about ready to resume baseball activities and could potentially return to the Pirates around mid-May … Juan Soto (shoulder) took batting practice at the Nationals' alternate training site on Tuesday … Dinelson Lamet (forearm) is scheduled to throw live batting practice on Wednesday … Austin Nola (finger) is now targeting a weekend return to the Padres' active roster … Mike Soroka (shoulder) is not expected to join the Braves' rotation before June. was working his way back from a torn Achilles before coming down with shoulder soreness, but an MRI has ruled out any structural damage … Nationals manager Dave Martinez hinted Tuesday that Jon Lester (COVID-19) could be ready to join the team's starting rotation later this week … Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Tuesday that Lorenzo Cain (quad) should be ready to return during the team's next road trip … Pirates activated OF Ka'ai Tom from the 10-day injured list. The versatile 26-year-old utilityman was claimed off waivers from the Athletics last week before being placed on the injured list for undisclosed reasons … Zack Godley will be called up to start for the Brewers on Wednesday versus the Marlins … Jerry Blevins has retired from baseball.