Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rookies not named Heyward or Strasburg having special seasons

For all the talk and hoopla surrounding Atlanta’s young slugging sensation, Jason Heyward, and Washington’s phenomenal pitching prodigy, Stephen Strasburg, there seems to be a couple rookie sensations remaining relatively obscure.

There are several players having excellent debut seasons in 2010, but arguably none have been better than Detroit’s Brennan Boesch and St. Louis’ Jaime Garcia.

Each of these players are making tremendous individual impacts, as well as forming some very special three-player forces for each of their respective teams.

Entering the All-Star break, Boesch, who didn’t swing a bat in the Major Leagues until April 23, has played a key role in propelling his Tigers to a 48-38 record and a mere half-game behind the rabidly hot White Sox in the American League Central.

Through 65 games played, the 25-year-old Tigers outfielder is batting .342 with 19 doubles, 12 home runs and 49 RBI.

Batting behind Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera, Boesch has transformed this Tigers trio into one of the most dangerous 3-4-5 hitting combos in the AL.

Ordonez is having a nice season, batting .313 with 11 HRs and 56 RBI, while Cabrera is having a spectacular season with his .346 BA, 22 HRs and 77 RBI. Combined with Boesch, the three-tiered Tiger attack is batting .333 with 45 HRs and 182 RBI.

In the National League, the Cardinals’ Garcia has been superb if not dominant.

Through 17 starts this season, Garcia is 8-4 with the Major League’s 3rd-best ERA (2.17) and 80 strikeouts through 99.2 IP. Selected by St. Louis in the 22nd round of the 2005 draft, the 24-year-old lefty is providing the Cards with plenty more than they bargained for.

Pitching along side of Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter, Garcia has helped the Cardinals form the the filthiest three-man pitching combination in the Major Leagues.

With Garcia’s prowess added to All-Stars Wainwright and Carpenter, the stellar St. Louis SP trio is 30-12 with a 2.54 ERA and 315 Ks this season.

Overall, Boesch’s Tigers have the 4th-highest team BA in the AL while Garcia’s Cardinals have the 2nd-best team ERA in all of baseball. With each team in similar predicaments - within a game of their respective division’s leaders - look for Detroit and St. Louis to lean on their prized rookies in making a strong push toward the playoffs.

While neither Boesch or Garcia were selected to play this year’s All-Star game, if each of them perform in the second half of the season the way they did in the first, expect these players to be recognized with AL and NL Rookie of the Year honors.

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