Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Baseball's shining crop of rookies
Vin Scully likes to say now and then that getting to the Major Leagues isn't hard, it's staying there that's the tough part. After Steve Sax and Fernando Valenzuela made the jump to the Dodgers from double-A San Antonio in the Texas League in 1981, general manager Al Campanis said, "The good ones come fast."
With the sensational debuts last night of Washington's Stephen Strasburg and Florida's Mike Stanton, it's hard to imagine any bumps in the road for these two talented rookies, the expectations are so high for them, especially for Strasburg, who struck out 14 Pittsburgh Pirates in 7 innings.
This is probably what the Wall Street Journal had in mind this morning with it's story and graphic on second-year players who, so far in 2010, are struggling after receiving Rookie of the Year votes last season.
The sophomores include Brett Anderson, a pitcher for Oakland, Gordon Beckham, an infielder with the White Sox, Chris Coghlan, an outfielder for Florida, Dexter Fowler, an outfielder with Colorado, J.A. Happ, a pitcher with Philadelphia, Rick Porcello, a pitcher with Detroit, and Randy Wells, a pitcher with the Cubs.
Anderson and Happ have had extended stays on the disabled list; Fowler was optioned to the minors; Porcello and Wells have soaring ERAs; and Beckham and Coghlan are swinging tepid bats.
The story does point out that Andrew Bailey of Oakland and Elvis Andrus of Texas are thriving in their second year in the big leagues, but so far the rookies of 2010, such as Atlanta's Jason Heyward, are making the headlines.


add Stanton: In his first game with the Marlins, the 20-year-old outfielder from Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks went 3 for 5, all singles, and scored two runs. In less that half a season at Jacksonville in the Southern League, Stanton hit 21 home runs and knocked in 52 runs.
He is one of the youngest players ever to reach the Major Leagues from the San Fernando Valley. Two other players come to mind, Robin Yount (Taft High) and Tim Foli (Notre Dame High), who were both 19 when they were called up to the big leagues. Yount, of course, played for the Milwaukee Brewers, and Foli, who started his career with the N.Y. Mets, played for several teams including the Montreal Expos and Pittsburgh Pirates.

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