Rays Write MLB History
Since the start of the 2020 season, the Tampa Bay Rays’ offensive production has cooled off and has been in a slump of recent. In search of an offensive spark, Manager Kevin Cash started an unorthodox lineup consisting of all left-handed hitters. Cash, known to heavily rely on analytics, started an all left-handed hitter lineup against Boston’s right-handed pitcher Andrew Triggs. Having nine left handers in the lineup was a first in modern Major League history. Cash’s bet against the odds landed Tampa’s favor as they tallied 12 hits in an 11-1 victory at Tropicana Field. The Rays look to hold onto their 4.5 game AL East lead with a final 15 game stretch in sight.
Rookie of the Year Race
In the American League, two impressive rookies have been head-and-shoulders above the rest of the competition. Luis Robert of the Chicago White Sox and Kyle Lewis of the Seattle Mariners have been at the forefront of AL ROY conversations. Robert, the face of the White Sox’ rebuild, has been hot to begin his 2020 campaign. The daily six-hole hitter in the highly-offensive Chicago lineup has been hitting .260 with 27 RBIs. Robert places first in Wins Above Replacement as a Position Player with 2.1 and Defensive WAR with 1.2. Recording 40 hits and six stolen bases, Robert will be a force in the American League for a long time to come. Outfielder Kyle Lewis has also made his impact in the big leagues. Hitting .300 with 47 hits — frankly — Kyle Lewis needs to be talked about more. The daily three-hole hitter provides a strong, contact-first bat at the top of Seattle’s lineup. In 2020, Lewis is slashing an impressive .390/.484/.874. With 23 RBIs and 32 runs, nothing can stop the production of the Rookie of the Year favorite.
In the National League, San Diego Padres’ star Jake Cronenworth has become the heavy favorite to take home the Rookie of the Year award. Currently on a historic rookie year, Cronenworth is hitting .315 with 41 hits and 20 RBIs. The top-of-the-lineup bat solidifies himself as a key piece in the World Series contending Padres lineup. The August NL Rookie of the Month paired with Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer, is a scary scene for all opposing pitchers. If Cronenworth continues his record-breaking pace, the Padres will have another superstar in the making.
Behind Cronenworth, sits Los Angeles Dodgers’ Dustin May and New York Mets’ David Peterson in the NL ROY race. Both unlikely to win NL Rookie of the Year, the two have been putting up strong numbers. In 9 starts, May has a 1-1 record with 28 K’s in 41.2 IP. The lanky right-hander averages 98 MPH on his fastball and pairs it with a strong cutter. The LA Dodgers will have an impactful one-two punch in Walker Beuhler and Dustin May for years to come. On the East Coast, New York Mets’ top-prospect David Peterson has been surprising many with his performance on the mound his season. In 6 starts, Peterson holds onto a 4-1 record with 24 K’s. Besides Cy Young favorite Jacob deGrom, Peterson has been the only bright spot in the Mets’ starting rotation. The left-handed pitcher tends to utilize his effective four-seam fastball and slider combination more than others. Peterson can certainly be a contributing piece in New York’s rotation in the future as well.
Breaking records after records, Cleveland Indians’ ace Shane Bieber has been performing like no other in 2020. The right-handed pitcher is the clear cut favorite to win American League Cy Young and could potentially also take home American League MVP award. Bieber brings a league-best 7-1 record along with a 1.53 ERA to the field. In 64.2 IP, the “best pitcher in baseball” hold onto 102 K’s, while Lucas Giolito, in second, has 82. This shows the sheer dominance Bieber has in 2020. To add, the right-hander is averaging 10.2 K’s per start. Bieber ranks top-5 in all pitching categories and simply nothing can stop him.
Chicago Cubs’ ace Yu Darvish has planted his name into the National League Cy Young race. Looking for his first Cy Young award, the 34-year old right-hander holds a league-best 7-2 record along with a 1.77 ERA. On the road, Darvish has been nothing short of unstoppable. In three starts, ace of the North Side of Chicago is 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA with 12 K’s. Pure domination. Darvish, paired with Kyle Hendricks at the top of the Cubs rotation is one of the league’s strongest combinations.
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