We’ll be taking a look at the most interesting takeaways every week this MLB season so check back every Sunday for our recap. Now, here’s what we learned from Week 5 in MLB:
Paddack living up to the hype
The San Diego Padres standout rookie Chris Paddack picked up his first MLB win on Wednesday, and it was the latest in a string of impressive outings. Here are his stats through five career starts:
The 23-year-old righty was dominant against Felix Hernandez and the Mariners (SD 1, SEA 0). Paddack retired the final 19 batters he faced to cap off his night. He threw seven scoreless innings for his longest MLB start, and struck out a career-high nine batters. Paddack allowed just one hit, one walk and one hit batter over seven innings and all the damage came in the first inning. Facing the best offense in the American League, Paddack threw 59 strikes out of his total 83 pitches.
Paddack became the first pitcher in the Live Ball Era (since 1920) to begin his career with five straight games allowing 3 hits or fewer (while facing at least 15 batters). His impressive start to the season is not only exciting for the Padres in the long-term, but Paddack’s dominance could also put the team into contention much earlier than anticipated. As of Sunday, San Diego has won five straight games and entered the day just one game behind the Dodgers for first place in the National League West. Paddack will go for his second MLB win on Tuesday when he takes the mound against the Atlanta Braves — fans can stream the game via fuboTV (Try for free).
Bellinger continues to collect accolades
Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger has had one of MLB’s hottest starts to the season, and he’s not showing signs of slowing down any time soon. As of Sunday, Bellinger sits in first place on the MLB leaderboard in the following categories: AVG (.420), hits (42), OPS (1.390), OBP (.500), SLG (.890) and total bases (89). He’s just behind Christian Yelich (another player off to a hot start) for home runs (13 to Yelich’s 14) and RBI (33 to Yelich’s 34).
Within the past week of MLB action, Bellinger has racked up a number of records including the MLB record for total bases (88) before May 1 as well as setting a team MLB record with the Dodgers’ 33rd straight home game with a home run.
Bellinger’s 33 RBI are the most for a Dodger through 28 games since Ron Cey had 37 in 1977. He also now has the most home runs in Dodgers history for March/April, and he’s one hit shy of the all-time Dodgers mark for hits in March/April set by Rafael Furcal (43) in 2008. Bellinger’s success in his third MLB season can be credited to his new approach at the plate, his plate discipline is much better than it was in 2017 and 2018. Bellinger’s current strikeout rate for 2019 is 10.8 percent, a huge drop from the 26.6 percent he had in 2017 and 23.9 percent last season. He’s been able to improve his walk rate as well, posting a 14.2 percent for this season so far, better than both his 2017 (11.7 percent) and 2018 (10.9 percent) marks. Bellinger also spent this offseason working with the Dodgers new hitting coach and prized hitting guru Robert Van Scoyoc, working to make some adjustments to make sure Bellinger’s approach felt more natural.
It’s also worth noting that Bellinger not only has been impressive at the plate but in the outfield as well, likewhen he robbed Yelich of a home run… in the same game where he homered.
Minnesota Twins’ offense has them in first-place
After a sub-.500 season in 2018, the Minnesota Twins have unexpectedly found themselves ahead of the Cleveland Indians for first-place in the American League Central. The Twins are batting .269 (good for third-best in MLB) while their team OPS of .846 and SLG of .514 are currently the top marks in baseball. In both Friday and Saturday’s games against the Orioles, the Twins homered five times. It’s just the 28th time in MLB history that a team had homered five times in consecutive games. Max Kepler led the way with three home runs, while the offseason additions of Nelson Cruz and C.J. Cron each hit two.
The team has also been getting major production from left fielder Eddie Rosario (.263/.307/.663) and shortstop Jorge Polanco (.341/.396/.637). Rosario, 27, leads the American League with 11 home runs and is second in the AL with 24 RBI. Polanco,who hit for the league’s first cycle at the beginning of this month, already has racked up 31 hits
Through the first 24 games of the season, here are the team records Minnesota has set:
- Home runs (47)
- Extra-base hits (104)
- Total bases (423)
- Slugging percentage (.514)
- OPS (.846)
It’s unlikely the Twins lineup can keep this crazy offensive production going all season, but if they can keep it up long enough, they might just be able to significantly extend its division lead over the Indians, who have won the past three division titles. Minnesota (15-9) will look to go for the sweep of the Orioles on Sunday, before they begin a four-game series with the Astros (16-11) on Monday.