Fantasy Baseball Sustainable Streaks: Adolis Garcia has arrived — but is he here to stay?

·7-min read

Baseball is a grind — and the fantasy version of the game is no different. And because it's a grind, baseball features streaks. Hitters can get hot at the plate, seemingly seeing beach balls thrown at them. Pitchers can get hot on the mound, too. And of course, both can get freezing cold.

In this space, we'll take a weekly look at who's hot and who's not — and whether you should believe in the streak.

(Editor's note: All stats derived before game action on Sunday, May 16)

HOT STREAKS

Adolis Garcia, OF, Texas Rangers

Waiver-wire heroes emerge every season — it's nothing new in fantasy sports. What is cool, however, is when that waiver-wire hero seemingly comes out of nowhere not only just in fantasy, but in reality too.

Adolis Garcia has splashed onto the scene with the new-look Rangers and has been one of the hottest hitters in fantasy the past two weeks. Garcia is 19-for-his-last-49 (included in there is a nine-game win streak with four home runs), giving him a season slash line of .297/.339/.585 and an OPS of .923.

Beast.

And yes, as stated above, while it might seem like Garcia has come out of nowhere, he's actually been in the game. He was a star playing professionally in his native Cuba, and after a stop in Japan, he defected and signed with the St. Louis Cardinals. He was then moved to the Rangers, and after some uneventful big-league at-bats, an injury to Ronald Guzman this season has thrust Garcia into the Rangers spotlight — and he's taken full advantage of the opportunity.

It's a great story, but unfortunately, a lot of underlying numbers show that this could just be a hot streak for the 28-year-old, as opposed to a small preview of his rest-of-season outlook.

For one, Garcia is striking out at a heavy clip, and he's not offsetting that with walks (he's taking a free pass just 5.5% of the time). So, where's this .297 average and .585 slugging coming from? A .352 BABIP certainly helps, as does a 16% Barrel percentage. Luck has certainly been influencing things the moment the ball has met his bat.

It's not all bad, however. Garcia has shown real power before when he was in the Cardinals system. He will, however, be expected to be a drain on OBP; his career mark is just .305. 

All that said, even when regression hits Garcia, do not be so quick to say, "OK, it was fun while it lasted." Remember, before this season, Garcia had just 24 total major-league plate appearances to his name.

While prognostications err on the less-impressive side of things, there's still a chance the Garcia could defy expectations.

Madison Bumgarner, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks

Talk about turning back the clock.

Through his first three starts of the 2021 season, it looked like MadBum was heading towards an ugly year, one that showed Father Time winning his battle against the former Giant.

That whole narrative has been completely wiped out.

Working with an extra two MPH worth of velocity, MadBum has turned his season around since, allowing just three total runs in his last five starts (he allowed 17 in his first three) while compiling 34 strikeouts. He has four wins and one no-decision in those starts. He's been able to reverse his misfortunes, and his ERA now stands at a respectable 4.12 with a sterling 1.01 WHIP.

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40)
Madison Bumgarner has turned back the clock. (AP Photo/Matt York)

A lot of Bumgarner's early season struggles can be attributed to walks — he was averaging over 2.5 free passes in those three starts. He's averaged less than half a walk ever since. 

Whether it's the improved walk rate or the higher velocity, the fact remains: Bumgarner doesn't look like he's done yet. In fact, his expected ERA is now 3.42! So, while you still should consider sitting him when the D-backs visit Coors, MadBum looks like he'll be a season-long fantasy viable starter.

"Not today, Father Time, not today."

Oh, and full disclosure: He earned that no-hitter back on April 25. Seven innings, nine innings, who cares. He finished the game, he shut the other team out, and he didn't allow a hit. Madison Bumgarner has a no-no on his career resume in my book. 

Something small on Yordan Alvarez ...

Doesn't it feel like Alvarez is just toying with opposing pitchers at this point?

When a player is on a 22-for-his-last-54 binge — with five home runs — you kind of feel that way.

Especially when that player is just 23-years-old, 6'5" and 225lbs, and hits in the heart of the order of one of the best teams in baseball. 

So, yeah — Alvarez is having a pretty good time right now.

COLD STREAKS

Dylan Bundy, SP, Los Angeles Angels

After an excellent start to the season — following a ton of fantasy articles proclaiming him a sleeper — Dylan Bundy has stumbled of late.

And that's putting it nicely.

Bundy has allowed 22 earned runs in his last five starts combined, and the trouble hasn't come just via the long ball, either. He's given up a whopping 28 hits in those starts. All told, his once-pristine numbers have now ballooned to a 6.02 ERA. He's still searching for his first win of the season.

But I'm here to tell you ... don't panic. Bundy should turn it around, and he should turn it around soon. In three of those rough starts, the Angels starter suffered some horrific batted-ball luck. He also isn't giving free passes out, as, even with his inflated ERA, his WHIP stands at a respectable 1.22. Like the incomparable Scott Pianowski says, when the ERA and WHIP numbers don't match up, trust the WHIP.

His advanced numbers show just how unlucky he's been, too. While his ERA stands at 6.02, his expected ERA is 3.53.

Bundy probably won't be the breakout ace pitcher fantasy managers were hoping for, but he's not what his last couple of starts has shown either. Expect him to return to strong form at some point soon.

Akil Badoo, OF, Detroit Tigers

There are some players who defy all projections, who laugh in the face of any quantifiable, stat-based narratives placed upon them.

Through the first couple weeks of the season, Akil Badoo looked like one of those players. Badoo was taking the league by storm and became one of the most popular waiver-wire adds in fantasy leagues.

All that seems like it was 100 years ago. 

Badoo had an explosive start, showcasing a penchant for heroics (remember, he wasn't a regular starter to start the season) while going 10-for-his-first 27 with 11 RBI. He looked like he was going to shatter all initial expectations and reveal himself as a fantasy diamond in the rough.

Sadly, that has not come to pass, and if prognostications are correct, it won't come to pass this season. Since that hot start, Badoo is striking out at an ugly 38.1% clip. His current .221 average is on the bright side of things; his XBA is actually .195.

Baddoo's start was fun while it lasted, but he should remain on waivers in all but the very deepest of fantasy leagues.

Miguel Sano, 1B, Minnesota Twins

Speaking of high strikeout percentages, Sano's issues with swinging and missing have yet again reared their ugly heads. His current 38.4% rate is the third-highest of his career, and while batting averages are down league-wide, Sano's .127 mark is particularly painful.

Fantasy managers who drafted Sano in the 17th round knew that the strikeouts would be plentiful, but figured it was probably worth it when you consider the power and RBI potential the Twins first baseman possesses. Unfortunately, that promise doesn't look like it's coming to pass.

Sano has just three homers on the year. To make matters worse, his average exit velocity through the early season is 88 — the lowest it's been in his entire career.

In Sano's defense, he's suffering from some really bad luck — his BABIP is currently .171, while his career mark stands at .333 — and he has shown signs of life of late with six hits in his last nine games. That said, unless his power levels out (his hard-hit percentage is a measly 31.6%), fantasy managers could be left wanting.

If you have Sano on your team and you're doing well in homers, you could stash him and wait for his luck to turn and enjoy the spoils when it does. But if you're finding yourself desperate for immediate power, you may have to look elsewhere.

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