In late August closer Glen Perkins was cruising along to another fantastic season for the Twins with a 2.44 ERA and 64/9 K/BB ratio in 55 innings when forearm and elbow problems popped up.
Perkins struggled for the rest of the year, first trying to pitch through the injury and then finally shutting things down in mid-September after allowing 10 runs–including five homers–in the span of eight appearances.
Because of how his season ended Perkins’ health was a big question mark all winter, but after facing live hitters for the first time this spring–and tossing some particularly good sliders–the left-hander pronounced himself “strong and healthy.”
As part of a below-market contract extension signed last spring Perkins is under the Twins’ control through 2018 and since shifting to the bullpen full time in 2011 the Minnesota native has a 2.74 ERA and 286/63 K/BB ratio in 256 innings to emerge as one of baseball’s top lefty relievers.
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.