20 Jun MLB Mail Bag: Week 12
By: Lou Landers – @RealSportsCrew
This week’s mail bag features a discussion on three players who have fascinating story lines. Tune into the Sports Buffet replay where these players and other hot topics around the MLB and NFL are discussed. The show can be listened to right here.
1) Cody Bellinger amazing stretch of HR:
Bellinger was a 4th round pick right out of high school. The Dodgers drafted him in 2013, from Hamilton HS in Chandler, AZ. After spending 5 years in the minor leagues, Bellinger was called up to the big leagues this year to make his MLB debut on April 25th. Since that date, Bellinger has led all of MLB in home runs and has helped propel the Dodgers to one of the best records in the majors.
He has shown good power in the minor leagues, hitting 3o big flies in 2015 and 26 in 2016. As good as those numbers are, neither come close to comparing to the pace Bellinger is on right now. He already seems like a sure thing to be the NL Rookie Of The Year, but if you look at his pace of 19 HR in 50 games, he is well ahead of his previous career high at any professional level. His batting average is down from his minor league average, however the Dodgers are still getting much more from this 21 year old than they ever could have imagined. His confidence is at an all time high and I don’t expect him to slow down.
2) Aaron Judge triple crown candidate:
If you think what Bellinger is doing is crazy, then what Aaron Judge has done in 2017 is other worldly. He has taken the baseball world by storm this season, especially Yankees fans. In what universe does a rookie get an entire section of a stadium named after him? Besides the fact that he’s a media favorite, a fan favorite and a true professional, Judge is putting up numbers right now that not even he could have expected. He is currently in contention to win the triple crown in the American League!!
Judge has already set a career high in HR at the professional level. He currently has 23 in his first big league season and we haven’t even reached the midway point. His career high in the minor leagues is 20, which he did back in 2015. Due to his size, the power production shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone, however his .335 batting average this deep into the season is quite possibly the most shocking stat this season; for any player on any team. As a Yankees fan, I would love to see him continue at this pace, yet my gut tells me it is not sustainable. He hasn’t hit over .300 since he was in A ball, all the way back in 2014. He has all but locked up AL Rookie of the year honors and although he is in the running for the triple crown and AL MVP, people should temper their expectations. Pitchers will adjust to him and find new ways to get him out.
3) Eric Hosmer trade candidate:
Hosmer is a former 3rd overall pick of the Royals back in 2008 out of high school. It didn’t take him long to reach the majors, making his big league debut at 21 years old in the 2011 season. Since then, Hosmer has won 3 gold gloves at 1B, been named to an all-star team in 2016 and won a World Series with the Royals in 2015. He has become one of the premier players at his position and his entering his prime years at only 27 years of age. The Royals have been playing better as of late but will face a very difficult decision on what to do with Hosmer come the 2017 trade deadline.
Hosmer is set to become a free agent at season’s end and seeing that the Royals are a small market team, they will likely not have the financial capabilities to sign him. The last time the Royals had a position player of this caliber hit the free agent market was Carlos Beltran. Beltran has since played for 6 other teams and has put together a hall of fame career. It is too early to put Hosmer in that category, however I don’t believe we have seen the best from him yet. The Royals will want to get as much as they can for Hosmer before he signs a lucrative free agent deal elsewhere, and there happens to be two teams in the American League who can use him. The Yankees and Red Sox are both lacking an all-star caliber 1B and have the prospects needed to complete a block buster deal to acquire Hosmer. More importantly, both teams have the financial means to re-sign Hosmer beyond this season. He is one of the biggest names floating around at this season’s deadline and only time will tell where he ends up.