Two weeks in and rookies have taken MLB by storm. With dominating pitching and highlight hitting reels, the kids are the talk of the town.
In the not so distant past, MLB employed a campaign that had a fairly fun catch phrase. Their commercial highlighted players such as Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, Shohei Ohtani, Carlos Correa, Ronald Acuna Jr.and more. The premise was easy and used the words of Hall of Famer, Ken Griffey Jr. Those words, “Let the Kids Play,” not only kicked off the playoff advertisement, but also highlighted the youth of MLB. Fast forward to today, a lot could be said about letting the kids play. No, there is no new ad campaign. An argument could be made though, that there is, and it’s a live action ad. This new live action ad is being headlined by today’s youth. It’s the guys seeing their first full year of action in an MLB uniform.
Guys Everyone Talked About
Much has been covered on the big name rookies this year. Julio Rodriguez, Seiya Suzuki, and Bobby Witt Jr have rightfully garnered all the attention going into the season. With Rodriguez and Witt being 2 of the top 3 prospects in all of MLB and Suzuki the prized overseas free agent land, all eyes have been focused on them. They’ve brought energy to their team’s fans. All three are playing well, be it in the field or at the plate; maybe both. But it’s the rookies that entered the season with limited to minimal fanfare that are making the most noise.
Getting On Base Often
Starting with a guy who rarely misses the ball when he swings, Steven Kwan. No rookie has done what Kwan did to start the season. In four games, Kwan reached base 15 times for Cleveland. After 8 games, this equals a .541 OBP – good for 3rd best of all rookies. This despite going 0-11 in his last 3 games. Yes, he was bound to cool off some. However, when he travels with a base everywhere he goes, certainly getting on base is a habit he isn’t willing to break.
Heading to Chase Field has become slightly more entertaining than most initially thought. That’s because of a rookie that is having a really good first month. Seth Beer is hitting a cool .438 in 32 AB’s in his 11 games. His .625 SLG is second only to Suzuki for rookies. Besides having a great baseball name, Beer’s biggest splash came on National Beer Day as he hit a walk off 3 run HR against the Padres.
SETH BEER WALK-OFF HOME RUN ON NATIONAL BEER DAY
IT WAS WRITTEN
— B/R Walk-Off (@BRWalkoff) April 8, 2022
Another Superstar Shortstop in the Making
Staying out west, the loss of Carlos Correa isn’t looming as large for Houston when you have another hitter stepping in and fitting in nicely. Jeremy Pena has shined at the plate and with the glove. With 6 of his 12 hits going for extra bases, any perceived hitting weakness has been dispelled. And, with his single error in 44 chances, Pena has proved he belongs in the line up everyday for the reigning AL Champs.
Cashing In on His Teams Riches
Drawing from a pool of prospects that is ranked as the best minor league system in baseball, the Mariners tapped one of their brightest young pitchers as their number 5 starter. Matt Brash is rewarding that decision by collecting 11 K in just 10.2 innings. His record is only 1-1, but his ability to keep hitters guessing is fantastic. Be it his 26.2% K% or getting them to look at 35.3% of pitches for strikes. At just 23 years old, he has the composure of a 33 year old veteran.
Flame Thrower Becoming an Ace
If throwing strikes were just as simple as throwing a 100+mph pitch, Hunter Greene would be the perfect example of simplicity. Besides throwing strikes at a 61.6% clip, he is setting records with his 100mph pitches. In his second start for the Reds, he threw 39 such pitches in his second game – a loss against the Dodgers. With a 1-1 record and a 31% SO rate, Greene is quickly becoming the ace the Reds need in the coming years.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) April 17, 2022
Ad No More, Way of Life
These rookies are proof that the MLBPA picked a worthy battle in their negotiations. Service time loopholes needed to be abandoned and these phenoms are showing their appreciation by energizing their teams. From Rodriguez making highlight reel catches to Suzuki hitting bombs (4 HR to pace all rookies). The breath of fresh air this class of rookies is providing shows that baseball is in good hands. Especially when coaches throughout MLB can rest a little easier knowing they have superstars in the making in their lineups every day. In other words, “Let the kids play,” is more than a catch phrase, it’s a way of life.