Pete Alonso, Daniel Vogelbach Show Profile Isn't Everything
The first installment of Three Up, Three Down for 2019
Thick-bodied, first base/designated hitter-types aren’t exactly scout's favorites, but a trio of them are making a jumbo-sized impact early this season. Daniel Vogelbach (6-foot, 250 pounds) has powered the Mariners’ fast start with a .341/.440/.878 slash line as their primary DH. Rowdy Tellez (6-foot-4, 255 pounds) has carried his power over from last season and now has nine doubles, seven home runs and an .886 OPS in 37 career games with the Blue Jays. Pete Alonso (6-foot-3, 245 pounds) has been king of them all, batting .339 with seven doubles, six home runs and a 1.181 OPS through 16 games with the Mets. All three faced skepticism at some point from evaluators who questioned their athleticism. All three are showing they can be not only be big leaguers, but impact ones.
The Rays have allowed the fewest runs in the American League with 40. Second-fewest? That would be Detroit. The Tigers have allowed only 49 runs through 15 games, the main reason for their winning record despite scoring the fewest runs in MLB. They've gotten promising early performances from 20-something-year-old starters Matthew Boyd (2.60 ERA, 29 K in 17.1 IP) and Spencer Turnbull (19 K in 15 IP), while fellow 20-something-year-old relievers Joe Jimenez, Buck Farmer, Victor Alcantara, Reed Garrett and Daniel Stumpf have combined to allow five earned runs in 25 innings. After back-to-back 98 loss seasons, the Tigers are showing they may have a group of young pitchers to build with moving forward.
2013 DRAFT PICKS
Kris Bryant (No. 2 overall pick) already has an MVP Award and Aaron Judge (No. 32) already has a home run title. The rest of the 2013 draft class is starting to catch up. Tim Anderson (No. 17) is off to a .453/.463/.679 start to raise the White Sox’s hopes for a successful rebuild. Marco Gonzales (No. 19) is 4-0, 3.19 to pace the Mariners’ rotation. Austin Meadows (No. 9) is breaking out for the Rays and just won AL Player of the Week. Colin Moran (No. 6) is finding the barrel more than ever and ranks among the top 10 percent of MLB in hard-hit percentage. Trevor Williams (2nd round) continues to take steps forward and now has a 1.52 ERA in his last 16 starts dating back to last year. Above all stands Cody Bellinger (fourth round), who already won a Rookie of the Year Award opposite Judge and now looks like a candidate to join Bryant as MVP winners from the draft class. Bellinger leads the National League in hits (29), runs (23), home runs (9), RBIs (23), batting average (.433), on-base percentage (.513) and slugging percentage (.925) entering Tuesday. He took a 95 mph fastball off his right knee Monday night, but X-rays were negative.
NL EAST BULLPENS
The National League East was heralded as the toughest division in baseball entering the season. That’s not going to be the case if the divisions' bullpens keep performing the way they are. The Braves (20th), Phillies (21st), Marlins (23rd), Mets (27th) and Nationals (30th) all ranked in the bottom 10 in MLB in bullpen ERA entering the week. The quintet had converted a combined 14 of 26 save opportunities. Nationals relievers have a 7.75 ERA. The Mets stand at 6.00. The Marlins' bullpen has a 5.34 ERA and is third-best in the division. It’s only roughly 10 percent into the season and the numbers should eventually even out, but the early results have been ghastly.
Jason Kipnis was just activated off the injured list Monday and Francisco Lindor is about to begin playing in rehab games. The Indians' offense needs them both, and then some. Cleveland is batting an MLB-worst .196 through 16 games and ranks 24th in on-base percentage (.288) and 28th slugging percentage (.315). Jose Ramirez (.150), Jake Bauers (.191), Hanley Ramirez (.182), Roberto Perez (.176) and Eric Stamets (.049) have all struggled out of the gate, while backups Max Moroff (.077), Greg Allen (.040) and Kevin Plawecki (.125) have offered little relief. They further hurt their offense by designating Brad Miller for assignment, a move the veteran infielder called the team out on. Combined with Corey Kluber (6.16 ERA) and Carlos Carrasco (12.60) not pitching like their usual selves, the Indians’ hold on the AL Central appears very tenuous early on.
2015 DRAFT PICKS
Alex Bregman (No. 3 overall pick) continues to shine and Dansby Swanson (No. 1) may finally be figuring it out offensively, but otherwise it’s been a rough go for the 2015 draft class. Ian Happ (No. 9) was demoted to Triple-A to begin the year. Walker Buehler (No. 24) has followed up his standout rookie season with an 8.25 ERA through three starts. Andrew Benintendi (No. 7) just fouled a ball hard off his foot and is out an indeterminate amount of time. Mike Soroka (No. 28) continues to battle shoulder problems. Kolby Allard (No. 14), Kevin Newman (No. 19), Richie Martin (No. 20), Taylor Ward (No. 26), Christin Stewart (No. 34) have drawn mixed reviews as both prospects and big leaguers, and they’re the ones who have made it. Overall, the 2015 draft class is not looking like one to remember, although hope lies from the later rounds. Paul DeJong (fourth round) continues to hit while Brandon Lowe (third round) and Chris Paddack (eighth round) are asserting themselves as rookies.