With 81 games left of the 2011 Major League Baseball season, I figured it would be a good time to zone in on how well a few of the rookie ballplayers have done so far.
There have been a few surprise rookies as well as those that have not fared so well. But for now we will focus on the ones that have impressed.
the 2011 MLB rookie that has stood out the most in the first half of the season has been the Seattle Mariners’ big right-handed pitcher Michael Pineda.
Pineda has made 16 starts and has a 7-5 record. His ERA is an impressive 2.65 and he has recorded 99 strikeouts in 102 innings so far.
But he has struggled a bit lately. He was pitching a masterful game against the Atlanta Braves the other night before he completely lost his command in the seventh inning. He walked the bases loaded and all three runners ended up scoring as the Braves won the game and ended up beating the Mariners 5-4.
Don’t let Pineda’s 7-5 record fool you because just like his pitching teammate Felix Hernandez, he pretty much receives no run support. The Mariners’ offense is absolutely abysmal. Micheal Pineda could and should easily have 10 wins right now at the halfway point of the season. But overall the big kid has been quite impressive in his rookie campaign.
Another rookie that has raised some eyebrows through the first half of the 2011 baseball season has been the Washington Nationals’ second baseman Danny Espinosa. The Nats’ rookie has played in all 81 games and has a surprising 15 home runs and 48 RBI. His batting average doesn’t stand out as he is only hitting .238, but he is producing for his young Washington team.
Kansas City Royals’ first baseman Eric Hosmer didn’t get called up to the big club until May 6th, so he has only played 48 games in his young career. Hosmer is expected to hit for power for the young Royals and he did that when he was first called up. But the youngster has struggled some as the Major League pitchers have now adjusted to Hosmer. He will have to make his own adjustments as well. Eric Hosmer’s numbers aren’t too bad considering the short time he has played. Through the 48 games, he has 5 homers, 27 RBI and a batting average of .268.
The Seattle Mariners’ rookie second baseman Dustin Ackley didn’t get called up until a few weeks ago as he made his Major League debut on June 17, 2011. He went 1-4 in his first game and he looks really good at the plate. He takes pitches and rarely strikes out. At this point it is hard to gauge Ackley’s rookie season, but he has played in 12 games for the Mariners and has 2 homers, 6 RBI and a batting average of exactly .300.
Ackley looked like a seasoned veteran in one of his at bats yesterday. The Mariners were playing Atlanta in an inter league game and the Braves had their flame throwing reliever Jonny Venters on the mound. Ackley, who bats left handed, took the lefty pitcher deep for a 2-run home run. It was the first homer that Jonny Venters has allowed in the 51 innings he has pitched this season. Quite impressive by Dustin Ackley! Ackley, The Mariners #2 pick of the 2009 MLB Draft right behind Stephen Strasburg, looks like he is going to a good one!
Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves was the talk of baseball coming out of spring training 2011. The big rookie first baseman made the club and has had a solid first half in his first campaign. Through 78 games so far in 2011, Freddie Freeman has hit 9 homers, 18 doubles and has 34 RBI. He is also hitting a respectable .272.
Yesterday may have been Freeman’s biggest highlight of his young career so far. As mentioned above, the Atlanta Braves played the Seattle Mariners yesterday at Safeco Field. The Braves had the dubious honor of facing the 2010 American League Cy Young award winner Felix Hernandez.
But Freddie Freeman didn’t care! The youngster went 3-4 off King Felix, including a 2-run single in the fifth inning that put the Braves up 4-0 and they would eventually win the game 5-3 and sweep the Mariners in Seattle. Freeman could be the next big super star in Major League Baseball! And he is still only 21 years old!