MLB.com has a story up today about the “next wave” of shortstops. The “new guard” of “younger stars rising to the top at their position.” Bet you can’t wait to click through and find out who all these hot young talents are! Maybe you’ll find out about them before your fantasy draft and scoop them up before your opponents even know their names! OK, here goes!
Hanley Ramirez, Troy Tulowitzki, Yunel Escobar, Jose Reyes and Erick Aybar.
Er, yeah. Ramirez and Tulowitzki are entering their fifth full seasons. Escobar his fourth. Aybar his fourth or fifth depending on how you count 2006. Reyes is entering his eighth. Sure, these guys still have a lot of baseball in them, but you’re not even a “rising star” at a bank or a law firm if you’ve been around eight years. You’re just a guy.
I suppose guys like Alcides Escobar and Starlin Castro aren’t ready to be called “the new guard” yet, but they’re closer to that than Jose Reyes is to being a “rising star.”
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.