*this weeks' Buckeye-free post....
Rookie Southpaw Sluggers Provide Serious Punch
It seems that post-steroid era baseball has brought back the pitching game. Sub-3 e.r.a. 's, nearly commonplace 100 mile-per-hour fastballs, a blown call ruining what would have been the third perfect game of this half-season - the pitchers are getting all of the face-time. Young arms are mowing down the competition, but there's still room for the ol' rookie slugger fascination, at least for this old baseball card collector.
Before the season started, Jason Heyward became a household name. In my fantasy league(granted it's Braves fan top-heavy) Heyward was drafted 148th overall, in the 13th round, a full 31 picks ahead of rookie pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg. It wasn't as if Heyward brought more raw talent or National hype than Strasburg, because he didn't, but the Braves expected Heyward to start and contribute right away, and he did.
The 6'5" 240 pound, 20 year-old Heyward didn't take long to hit his stride, belting a three-run dinger in his first major league at-bat, a no-doubter! The rookie has drawn endless comparisons to past superstars, but this Met fan can't help but see flashbacks of a young Darryl Strawberry. Heyward has the speed to steal 20+ bases, and the power to to hit 40+ homers, yes, without the juice. His athleticism and his all-out style of play, coupled with his freakish frame, make Heyward more susceptible to injury. Bobby Cox, the old wiley veteran manager, may not be able to cage his fearless beast, he may not want to, I don't want him to, of course, I'm a Met fan, a baseball fan, and this guy is just flat-out fun to watch. To date Heyward is batting .251 with 11HR, 45RBI, and 5SB in 71games.
Heywards stats are great, but Brennan Boesch of Detroit started his Major League career on cloud-9, and hasn't shown signs of returning to earth any time soon. The Tigers slugger is hitting a torrid .341 - good for 3rd in the Majors if you don't omit him because of his at-bats(elbow nudge). Boesch has played in 62 of the Tigers 83 games after starting the season in the minors. I think it's obvious the kid belongs in the big-leagues. Boesch has 12HR, 47 RBI's, and 33 runs scored. He's slugging .595, hitting a home-run in every 19 at-bats. He's hitting .369 with runners on, .343 with runners in scoring position, a supersonic .448 against left-handers, and a mere .667 with the bases loaded. The California kid has taken Motown by storm.
In all the hype of the afore mentioned duo, Mets first basemen Ike Davis has flown under the radar, and is a big reason the Mets have surpassed the pre-season expectations, and a reason the team has proved to be a contender in the National League East(the other reasons being pitchers R.A.Dickey and Mike Pelfrey). Davis' numbers(.257, 10HR, 39RBI, 42R) are practically mirror images of Jason Heyward. His numbers are even more impressive when you factor in the cataclysmic, abyss-like depths of Citifield.
There is little doubt that these three sluggers can continue to put up impressive numbers. The trio has the size, speed, power, and work ethic to lead their teams and baseball into the next chapter, and maybe, someday, even lead one or all of them to Cooperstown.