Top 5 MLB Player Surprises 2021

Top 5 MLB Player Surprises 2021

Cole Paganelli
3 years ago
4 min read
Top 5 MLB Player Surprises 2021

With the All-Star game (July 13) coming up in just a month, fans have begun the voting process around the country. While many household names will fill the ballots, there are a handful of players who have had surprise performances in 2021 that should garner some attention, too.

Here are five of the biggest player surprises throughout MLB in the 2021 season and players who should be worthy of an All-Star vote.

Jesse Winker - Cincinnati Reds OF (.344/.413/.637, 17 HR, 38 RBI, 48 Runs)

While the Cincinnati Reds (30-31) may sit five games out of first place, the offense certainly isn’t to blame. They rank sixth in runs per game (4.87) and have been especially dominant at home as they average 5.72 runs at Great American Ballpark.

A large part of this offensive success is due to the breakout season from Jesse Winker. He currently ranks second in batting average in MLB (right behind teammate Nick Castellanos), third in home runs, and fourth in runs scored.

His 17 home runs already exceeds any other season total from his career, and he is not far from exceeding the 43 runs batted in that he had in 2018. Without a doubt, his start has been one of the best surprises of the early season.

Winker currently is +4000 to win the National League MVP.

Jared Walsh - Los Angeles Angels OF/1B (.293/.363/.544, 13 HR, 40 RBI, 31 Runs)

In a lineup that features Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout (when healthy), it can be hard to get noticed. However, for 27-year-old Jared Walsh, his amazing start to the season has definitely been turning some heads.

Currently, the Angels are third in the American League West at 30-32. Like years before, though, it is less about the Angels’ offense and more about their pitching. The Angels currently rank 10th in runs per game (4.69) but rank 27th in runs allowed per game (5.10).

While Walsh will continue to fly under the radar with some of the other big names on his team, he has been one of the most consistent hitters for Los Angeles to this point.

Currently, his odds to win A.L. MVP are +10000.

Adolis Garcia - Texas Rangers OF (.272/.307/.534, 16 HR, 44 RBI, 29 Runs, 7 SB)

Prior to 2021, Adolis Garcia had a combined 23 at-bats over two seasons with two teams. In those 23 at-bats, he had a combined zero home runs, one run batted in, and three runs scored.

Given those poor numbers, he has certainly been a surprise thus far this season as he has hammered 16 long balls (tied for fifth in the majors) and has 44 runs batted in (tied for eighth).

While Texas may ultimately be sellers at the trade deadline, they certainly found a diamond in the rough with Garcia.

He is currently +5000 to win the A.L. MVP.

Mitch Haniger - Seattle Mariners OF (.258/.306/.525, 16 HR, 40 RBI, 43 Runs)

Unfortunately, due to injuries, 2020 was a lost season for Mitch Haniger as he did not play at all. If you looked at his stats this year, though, you would never know.

Haniger has been fantastic this season and currently leads his team in home runs (16), runs batted in (40), and runs scored (43).

While his Seattle Mariners likely won’t make a push for the postseason, it definitely isn’t because of Haniger. He currently sits at +10000 to win the A.L. MVP.

What will be interesting, given that Haniger will be a free agent in 2023, is whether Seattle looks to capitalize on his strong season and move him at the trade deadline or not.

Aaron Civale - Cleveland Indians SP (9-2, 3.17 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 69 K’s)

While Shane Bieber gets most of the attention as the team ace, it is Aaron Civale who has been the strongest pitcher for Cleveland thus far.

Civale is currently tied with Julio Urias of the Dodgers as the major league leader with nine wins. His teammate Bieber has just seven on the season.

While Cleveland fans have always known that Civale was talented, he hasn’t pitched to this level in his brief career. Last season, the now 26-years-old went 4-6 with a 4.74 ERA.

With an inconsistent offense, it is the Indians’ pitching staff that is keeping them in the A.L. Central race with the Chicago White Sox. To date, Civale is one of the biggest contributors to that pitching staff.

Civale is currently +5000 to win the A.L. Cy Young Award.

Honorable Mention

Luis Garcia - Houston Astros SP (5-3, 2.75 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 68 K’s)

Brandon Crawford - San Francisco Giants SS (.261/.351/.551, 14 HR, 41 RBI, 35 Runs)

Yermin Mercedes - Chicago White Sox DH (.289/.348/.441, 7 HR, 31 RBI, 21 Runs)

Joe Musgrove - San Diego Padres SP (4-5, 2.33 ERA, 0.838 WHIP, 89 K’s)

Mark Melancon - San Diego Padres RP (19 saves, 0.66 ERA, 1.024 WHIP, 22 K’s)

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