Here we are, a little over a month into the new baseball season. While we try to not panic/be overly confident about our favorite teams’ and players’ seasons thus far, it’s hard not to get a little excited about the breakout rookies. Yes, it’s true that some (most) rookie hot streaks don’t last, and a .360 batting average in the first six weeks of a major league career isn’t necessarily a harbinger of a long and prosperous career. Still, ten Aprils ago, that’s what they were saying about Albert Pujols.
Let’s meet a few of the newbies, shall we?
OK, not technically a rookie (he appeared mostly in short relief in 10 games in 2008 before needing Tommy John surgery), but he’s a Cardinal so I’m bending the rules. He’s also the first lefty to start for the Cards since Mark Mulder and he is awesome. After what the Phillies did to Santana, I was scared to death that Garcia’s hot streak was about to get clobbered by Utley and co. … and then he held them to three hits over six innings.
The Mets’ new first baseman arrived in mid-April, almost exactly as the Mets began the winning streak that put them on top in the NL East (momentarily). Coincidence? Probably, but he’s producing enough at both the plate and in the field to make Mets fans feel a little more hopeful about the rest of their season.
Things haven’t been so great for the Braves lately, but they started off hot thanks to their rookie right fielder, who currently has almost as many RBIs (24) as games played (25). With 8 HRs and 4 doubles, he’s also slugging .627. Let’s all just hope the injury that forced him out of Wednesday’s game with the Nats doesn’t turn out to be serious.
You love Joe Mauer. The Ladies love Joe Mauer. The entire state of Minnesota loves Joe Mauer. And yet this past week, a rookie catcher for the Twins is making a few people say, “Joe Who?” Sure, just about any major leaguer can hit .438 in 4 games, and no one really expects Mauer to get Wally Pipped here, but I’m sure many Twins fans feel at least a little less uneasy about the back problem currently sidelining Mauer. (Sidebar: if Ramos can keep producing at this pace, and Mauer’s back continues to bother him, do the Twins start seriously considering transitioning Mauer to a less demanding position?)
Congratulations, boys! You know you’ve made it once the Ladies have their eyes on you.