Here’s how far Edinson Volquez has come in one year: Last season he posted a 5.71 ERA and allowed the most earned runs in the league. This season the Pirates just chose him to start the Wild Card playoff game Wednesday against the Giants … and it’s not even a crazy decision.
Pittsburgh going with Gerrit Cole in Game 162 of the regular season rather than holding him back was worth debating, but once that decision was made Volquez is a deserving choice after throwing 193 innings with a 3.04 ERA. Not a bad return for a one-year, $5 million investment.
However, his secondary numbers weren’t nearly as good as his ERA and, as always with Volquez, control is a huge issue with 3.3 walks per nine innings, 14 hit batters, and a league-high 15 wild pitches.
Rookie first baseman Pete Alonso has launched what appears to be the beginning of an auspicious career, made all the more notable by the 50 home runs he’s produced for the Mets so far this season. The All-Star slugger pushed his home run streak to four straight games on Friday, collecting no. 50 on an eighth-inning fastball from the Reds’ Sal Romano.
It’s just the latest of a long line of accomplishments for the 24-year-old infielder. Entering Friday’s series opener against Cincinnati, the first-time All-Star carried a .266/.366/.590 batting line with a league-leading 49 homers, 113 RBI, a .956 OPS and 4.9 fWAR through 648 plate appearances. Among those who are still rounding out their rookie seasons in 2019, he ranks first in home runs and fWAR by a long shot: the White Sox’ Eloy Jiménez is second in home runs with 28 dingers, while the Astros’ Yordan Álvarez plays second fiddle in fWAR with 3.7 Wins Above Replacement.
Even more remarkable: Alonso is the second rookie in MLB history to deliver at least 50 home runs in a single season. The first? Aaron Judge, who clubbed a jaw-dropping 52 homers for the Yankees in 2017.