Bill Baer

Cody Bellinger and Aaron Judge are having two of the best rookie seasons of all time

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Earlier, Craig wrote about the Dodgers having the best 50-game stretch in 105 years. The club has many players to thank for that, starting with Clayton Kershaw and including Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner, Alex Wood, and Corey Seager. Also included is 1B/OF Cody Bellinger.

After homering in Sunday night’s win over the Mets, Bellinger is currently hitting .264/.344/.608 with 32 home runs, 75 RBI, and 61 runs scored in 381 plate appearances. He didn’t make his major league debut until April 25, but he’s still third in the majors in homers, third in slugging percentage, 15th in RBI, and 16th in OPS (.952). The Dodgers have 51 games left. At Bellinger’s current rate, he will tack on 18 more home runs, 42 more RBI, and 34 more runs. For those keeping score at home, he’s on track to finish with 50 homers, 117 RBI, and 95 runs scored.

Only one rookie has ever hit more than 38 home runs: Mark McGwire, who hit 49 in 1987 with the Athletics. He also had a .987 OPS with 118 RBI and 97 runs scored. 33 rookies have knocked in 100-plus runs, but only 10 have knocked in 117 or more. Albert Pujols was the last to do it, putting up a 1.013 OPS with 37 HR and 130 RBI in 2001 with the Cardinals.

Going by OPS, only 16 rookies have posted a better mark than Bellinger has currently. A handful have happened this millennium, including Pujols in 2001. Mike Trout had a .963 OPS in 2012, Jose Abreu put up a .964 OPS in 2014, and Aaron Judge currently owns a 1.051 OPS. Fred Lynn, who won the MVP and Rookie of the Year Awards in 1975 with the Red Sox, posted a .967 OPS.

If it weren’t obvious, everything said about Bellinger applies to Judge, who’s having an even better rookie season. He just doesn’t have synergy with his team making headlines for enjoying the best 50-game stretch in 105 years. Judge is batting .299/.424/.627 with an AL-best 35 home runs, 78 RBI, and an AL-best 85 runs scored. He’s also drawn an AL-best 79 walks. He’s on pace to finish with 52 homers, 115 RBI, 125 runs, and 116 walks. Perhaps the altered baseballs are to thank in some part, but it has been fun to watch two of the best rookie seasons of all time.

Former Phillies catcher Darren Daulton dies at 55 from brain cancer

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Former Phillies catcher Darren Daulton died on Sunday at the age of 55 as a result of brain cancer, the team announced in a press release. Daulton underwent surgery for glioblastoma in July 2013.

Daulton spent parts of 14 seasons in the majors, 13 and a half of which came with the Phillies. Most memorably, he helped the 1993 Phillies reach the World Series, where they lost in six games to the Blue Jays. Over his career, Daulton hit .245/.357/.427 with 137 home runs and 588 RBI. He spent most of his career behind the plate, but played some first base and right field when the Phillies traded him to the Marlins in July 1997.

Phillies Chairman Emeritus Bill Giles said in a statement, “Darren was a true leader of men. The Phillies would not have gone to the 1993 World Series without his leadership. In addition to being an outstanding clubhouse leader, he was also a fighter. He battled through five knee operations to become an All-Star. I really enjoyed watching him for 14 years in uniform. Darren was a super human being. His teammates loved him, I loved him like he was one of my own. In fact, he called me ‘Uncle Bill.'”

Daulton was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2010.

Matt Shoemaker to undergo season-ending forearm surgery

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The Angels announced on Sunday that starter Matt Shoemaker will undergo surgery to release the radial nerve in his right forearm. Dr. Steve Shin will perform the surgery on Tuesday in Los Angeles. Shoemaker is expected to be out of action for 12-14 weeks, which means he should at least be ready for spring training next year.

Shoemaker, 30, hasn’t pitched since making a rehab start on July 4 with High-A Inland Empire, after which he suffered a setback. The right-hander had another setback on Friday when he had a bullpen session. He ends his 2017 season with a 4.52 ERA and a 69/28 K/BB ratio in 77 2/3 innings.