View From the Center: N.L. East Rookies
Welcome to "View From the Center", where our resident pseudo-expert slash Cincinnati Reds fan Jeff Gentil takes a regular rundown of the topics of interest within baseball's divisional landscape. This week, fabulous freshmen.
You've likely heard of rookie sensation Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves. But there are several other rookies around the majors playing big roles in their team's success. Let's take a look at a few.
Atlanta Braves: The odds-on rookie of the year, Heyward has torn up the league since Opening Day at the ripe young age of 20. His nine homers and 33 RBI are tops in the National League, and his .290 average, .409 OBP, and .580 slugging percentage are also in the top five of National League rookies. Quite simply, it would take an injury or unexpected slump for him not to win top rookie honors.
Florida Marlins: Gaby Sanchez made his major league debut in 2008, but never got enough plate appearances to take him out of "rookie" status, so his 2010 start shouldn't be that surprising. He's hitting a solid .279 with four homers and 21 RBI, and is second in hits among rookies behind the Cardinals' David Freese.
New York Mets: Another relative youngster, Ike Davis (23), has taken over for Carlos Delgado at first base this season, and while he isn't putting up Delgado-like numbers, he is holding his own. A .290 average with four homers and 12 RBI to go with a solid .398 OBP and .477 slugging is certainly not the reason the Mets have struggled early in the season.
Philadelphia Phillies: Antonio Bastardo made his debut in 2009 but only threw 23.2 innings. This season, the rookie has a very nice 2.35 ERA in 10 games as a lefty specialist out of the bullpen. His 1.04 WHIP is very good and batters are only hitting .148 against him.
Washington Nationals: Ian Desmond is likely keeping this slot open for a fellow named Stephen Strasburg who should make his debut sometime in June if all goes according to plan. However, Desmond has had a nice start to the 2010 season hitting .261 with three homers and 19 RBI.