Three Up, Three Down: Eddie Rosario Keeps The Twins Afloat
Eddie Rosario, OF, Twins
Byron Buxton isn’t hitting. Neither are Logan Morrison or Miguel Sano or Brian Dozier. It’s been Rosario carrying the moribund Twins offense and keeping the team in the American League Central race. The four-time Twins' Top 10 prospect leads the team in batting average (.297), slugging percentage (.526), home runs (nine), runs (30), RBI (32) and is tied for first in stolen bases (five). He’s been particularly hot as of late, posting a 1.019 OPS in May. The Twins are last in the American League in runs scored entering Tuesday. Without Rosario, it would be much, much worse.
Nick Markakis, OF, Braves
While the young kids get all the ink, Markakis has been every bit as important in Atlanta’s rise to the top of the National League East. The 34-year-old leads the National League in hits (72) and owns a .341/.406/.512 slash line entering Tuesday, with hits in 10 of his last 11 games. He’s on pace to challenge his career highs in doubles, home runs and OPS and he’s played in every game for the Braves so far. A three-time Top 100 Prospect in the early 2000’s, Markakis is showing that top talent doesn’t disappear at 30.
Scooter Gennett, 2B, Reds
Nothing has gone right for the Reds as they’ve slumped to a 106-loss pace, but Gennett has been a bright spot. The 28-year-old second baseman leads the National League batting title race with a .347 average and is only getting hotter. Gennett has hit .409 with eight homers, 23 RBI and a 1.180 OPS in May, putting himself in position to earn his first all-star selection. A three-time Top 10 prospect for the division rival Brewers, plucking Gennett off waivers last March has proved to be one of the shrewdest moves made by the Reds this decade.
Eric Skoglund, LHP, Royals
The Royals counted on Skoglund to be part of their next wave of young pitching, but it’s been an ugly start to his career. Skoglund went 0-3, 7.07 in five starts this month and was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a UCL sprain on Saturday. The Royals' No. 5 prospect entering this year, Skoglund is 2-7, 7.45 in 16 career major league appearances (14 starts) and he is simply not demonstrating the stuff needed to get big league hitters out on a consistent basis.
Cody Bellinger's Start One For The Record Books (Three Up, Three Down)
Cody Bellinger, Chris Sale and Noah Syndergaard are among the names in this week's Three Up, Three Down.
Ian Kinsler, 2B, Angels
The Angels acquired Kinsler in the winter to solve their longstanding second base problem, but instead he’s only furthered it. The 36-year-old began showing signs of decline last season and this year has cratered to a .179/.249/.263 slash line for the Angels. He’s been particularly bad recently, batting .153 with one home run in May. With the Angels trying to contend and prospect David Fletcher batting .343 in Triple-A, the pressure is on for Kinsler to turn it around—fast.
Jay Bruce, OF, Mets
The Mets brought Bruce back to much fanfare in the offseason after trading him to the Indians at the deadline last year. Instead of a happy return, Bruce’s three-year, $39 million contract is already looking like an albatross. Bruce’s .649 OPS is on pace to be the worst of his career and it’s only getting worse. He’s hit .205 with one home run in May, as they Mets have turned their 11-1 start into a 26-25 record. The Mets are hurting in a lot of places, but Bruce’s lack of production has weighed down an offense that can’t afford many empty at-bats.