MLBits: The Six-Inning Cycle, Even More Ohtani Greatness, Dream Outfield Pick ‘Em, Paredes Keeps Mashing, More

The Orioles and the Nats could fit in only six innings on Wednesday night due to rain, which is cool, because that’s all that Austin Hays needed to hit for one of the most efficient cycles in baseball history.

Austin Hays Hits For the Cycle!

Austin Hays is having a pretty good season for the Baltimore Orioles. The 26-year-old outfielder is slashing .287/.347/.482 with 10 home runs and a 136 wRC+ through his first 79 games of the season. But what Hays did last night, hitting for the cycle, was the highlight of his season.

What made it even more extraordinary was that he did it in his first four at-bats in just six innings! This is important because the game only lasted six innings due to rain. Hays became the sixth Orioles player to hit for the cycle and the first since Felix Pie in 2009.

Hays even had to wait out a rain delay to get his fourth at-bat, a double to complete the final leg of the cycle.

“We had the rain delay, so we came back inside. It was unclear if we were going to be able to go back out and finish the game or not,” Hays said. “I think I was six or seven spots away, so I wasn’t sure, with more rain coming if I was even going to get the opportunity.

“It was crazy. I was definitely thinking about it. I was just thinking about getting a slider that was hanging over the middle of the plate and hitting it to left-center, and sure enough, Cishek hung a slider right there, and I was able to hit the line drive to left-center. It was a really cool feeling. Goosebumps hit me right as I was touching second base. Nothing else to do but just point up to the sky and thank God for the opportunity for that. It was a really cool moment.”

According to Jeremy Frank, Hays is the first player to hit for the cycle in a shortened game since at least 1901!

The Ohtani Sho Continues

Shohei Ohtani hit two three-run bombs and became the first Japanese-born player in MLB history to record 8 RBI in a single game on Tuesday night. How could he follow that performance up with something equally amazing?

How about a career-high 13 strikeouts and eight innings of shutout two-hit baseball?

The things that Ohtani is accomplishing as a dominant two-way player are things we never imagined we would see as baseball fans and things we might never see again. Ohtani is an extraordinary player, and we’re privileged to witness history in the making.

Dream Outfield Pick ‘Em

MLB Network’s Twitter account posted one of those graphics geared towards generating interaction which, more often than not, I just ignore, except this one caught my attention and made me think. Who would you pick if you could build a dream outfield with any three players in MLB history?

There are two routes you could take here; 1) pick a trio that you believe is the best outfield that you can assemble, or 2) pick your favorite trio, which will probably by default compete with most trios. I went with the latter and picked my favorite outfield trio, which has a ton of 90s flavor because those were my formative baseball-watching years. I also went positionless, in that I don’t care who’s playing center or the corners … because I can.

  1. Ken Griffey, Jr.
  2. Tony Gwynn
  3. Rickey Henderson

Ken Griffey, Jr. was the immediate no-brainer for me. The Kid was my favorite baseball player growing up. He made baseball fun and cool, and he was the original swaggy baseball player, the mold of the modern-day baseball player. Hat backward, power for days, the prettiest swing you’ll ever see. Griffey owns a lifetime .908 OPS, 630 home runs, a 131 wRC+, and he accumulated 77.7 fWAR throughout his 22 MLB seasons.

If not for a trio of injury-laden seasons in the early 2000s, Griffey would have likely been the fourth member of the 700 home run club. Griffey won an MVP, made 13 ASG appearances, and won seven Silver Slugger awards and 10 Gold Glove awards.

Tony Gwynn was one of the greatest pure hitters of all time. Gwynn racked up  3,141 hits and finished his career with a .339 batting average. Gwynn made 15 ASG appearances and won eight batting titles, seven Silver Sluggers, and five Gold Glove awards. Gwynn amassed 65.0 fWAR.

Rickey Henderson Henderson finished with a .279 batting average, 3,055 hits, 1,406 stolen bases, and 2,295 runs scored. Henderson stole 100 or more bases in the same season and finished his career with a .401 OBP and 106.3 fWAR.

You can make arguments for a better trio, but it’ll be tough, with Griffey, Gwynn, and Henderson combining for 249 fWAR.

(Michael: I’d go Ian Happ, Christopher Morel, and Seiya Suzuki … Okay, my real answer: Mike Trout, Ken Griffey Jr., and Barry Bonds).

Odds and Ends …

  • Isaac Paredes smashed three home runs against the Yankees on Tuesday night and added one more for good measure on Wednesday night.
  • Max Fried won his arbitration case with the Atlanta Braves and will receive a salary of $6.85 million this season rather than the $6.6 the Braves initially offered, per Jeff Passan. Aaron Judge with the New York Yankees is the only arbitration case that remains from the lockout-shortened offseason.
  • Phillies prospect Griff McGarry had a wild performance on Wednesday night for the Jersey Shore Blue Claws. McGarry recorded 16 outs in 5.1 IP, with 13 of those outs coming via the punch out.
  • The Cubs walloped the Pirates on Wednesday night, setting up a rare battle between a position player on the mound and a pitcher hitting (ironically, in the first year in which pitchers don’t have to hit). Robertson was all smiles in the first at-bat of his 14-year career, even when Pirates infielder Diego Castillo struck him out.
  • Wander Franco is on the mend for the Tampa Bay Rays and will begin a rehab assignment with the Durham Bulls. Franco has a 110 wRC+ in 45 games for the Rays this season.
  • In today’s installment of “So You Think You Can Hit Against a Major League Pitcher?” … we have Carlos Rodón (who the White Sox let walk for NOTHING) blowing an elevated fastball by Dansby Swanson. 😢
  • Giancarlo Stanton with a DOT to second base from the warning track in right field:
  • written by

    Patrick grew up in Chicago's Bridgeport and Garfield Ridge neighborhoods before moving to the Western Suburbs of Chicago before eventually relocating to the Las Vegas area with his family in 2023. He started with Bleacher Nation in 2021 and has spent time as a Staff Writer and on the Chicago Blackhawks beat. He is currently a writer and editor at Bleacher Nation covering the Chicago Bears and the NFL at large and the author of the Bleacher Nation Newsletter. Patrick is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).

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