Checking In On The New Guys
Last week, we gave you a list a 5 Rookies to Watch in the 2021 MLB season. Now that we're 1 week into the season, let's see who has gotten off to a great start in the Rookie of the Year race and who came back to the pack.
1) Randy Arozarena
The Tampa Bay Rays are off to a slower start than anticipated, but Randy Arozarena has continued to hit at a torrid pace. The sample size is small, but through 4 games he is slashing .313/.389/.313 with a 101 OPS+. The power has yet to show up in 2021 with all 5 of Arozarena's hits being singles. He also has 1 RBI on the very young season.
However, while MLB and Rays fans wait for the power to show up (don't worry, it is definitely coming), Arozarena has been flashing the leather in LF. On Monday, with the Rays trailing 1-0 in the 4th inning, Arozarena made an outstanding diving catch to rob Hunter Renfroe of a 2-run double. The only real mark against Arozarena in the early going would have to be his 1-5 3K performance on Wednesday, though his 1 hit was his lone RBI to date.
Week 1 grade: B+
2) Ke'Bryan Hayes
What looked like it could be a hot start to 2021 for Ke'Bryan Hayes has unfortunately been put on hold. After opening the season with a 2-run HR off Cubs "ace" Kyle Hendricks, Hayes was held hitless through his next 4 ABs, posting an early slash line of .200/.429/.800 with a 232 OPS+. While the back half of that slash line is off the charts, it accounts for only 7 total plate appearances. After his opening day heroics, Hayes was removed from the Pittsburgh Pirates' second game of the year after injuring his wrist and could miss more than the minimum 10 days.
Week 1 grade: Incomplete
3) Ryan Mountcastle
The lone rookie on our list to appear in every game his team has played in this young season is Ryan Mountcastle. The Baltimore Orioles OF started the year as the primary DH during their sweep of Boston before moving back into LF to replace an injured Austin Hays.
Mountcastle's plate appearances so far have shown moments of promise, but overall his 2021 season is off to a slow start. Through 5 games, he is slashing .200/.273/.250 with a 49 OPS+. After a strong Opening Day, where he went 1-4 with a game winning 2 RBI double, his performances have included two 0-4 games and a 1-4 with 3 Ks in a game the Orioles ultimately won 11-3.
Week 1 grade: C-
ROOKIES WAITING IN THE WINGS
Last week, we brought you a list of our Top 5 Rookies to watch in 2021. From that list, two guys, Wander Franco and Bobby Witt Jr., have yet to make their season debut as they wait for the minor leagues to start playing games next month. We will continue to check in on them throughout the year and provide updates. So stay tuned!
If you tuned in to The Baseball Buffet last week, you heard me sign off with a trivia question. I've decided to keep this going and will provide you with the answer back here every week.
So without further ado, here's last week's question and answer: In 1966, the Baltimore Orioles swept the Dodgers in 4 games to win the World Series. Name the 4 winning pitchers.
Answer: Moe Drabowsky, Jim Palmer, Wally Bunker, Dave McNally
Tune into tomorrow at 9ET/8CT to The Baseball Buffet for the round up of the first week of games and all the baseball talk you can handle. Until next time, stay hungry.