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Gary Sanchez is running away in the American League Rookie of the Year Award race

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Another day, another two home runs and five RBI for Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez. Sanchez tagged Rays starter Alex Cobb for a three-run home run in the top of the second inning and belted one off of Justin Marks, a solo shot in the top of the sixth inning of Wednesday night’s 11-5 win by New York. This on the heels of an RBI single in the first inning. Following his at-bats against the Rays, Sanchez is sitting on a .337/.410/.747 triple-slash line with 19 home runs and 38 RBI in 166 at-bats. He’s homered in four consecutive games now.

As a result, Sanchez made some Major League Baseball history in the process:

Sanchez was brought up for one start on May 13, going 0-for-4, then was sent back down to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The Yankees brought him back up on August 3 and the rest is history.

Indians outfielder Tyler Naquin seemed to be the favorite for the American League Rookie of the Year Award before Sanchez burst onto the scene. FanGraphs lists him at 2.1 Wins Above Replacement, while Baseball Reference has him at 0.6. Sanchez, in roughly half the plate appearances, has respective WARs of 2.9 and 2.7.

Tigers starter Michael Fulmer and Astros reliever Chris Devenski also deserve mention. Fulmer has a 3.03 ERA and a 120/39 K/BB ratio in 148 2/3 innings, helping stabilize — with Justin Verlander, of course — what has otherwise been a shaky starting rotation. Devenski, in five starts and 41 relief appearances, has a 1.98 ERA and a 97/19 K/BB ratio in 104 2/3 innings.

But it’s Sanchez’s award to lose now. And it doesn’t look like he’s going to be cooling off anytime soon.

Orioles catcher Jesús Sucre retired the White Sox in order last night

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The Orioles don’t yet have the worst record in baseball. They’re tied for the most losses with 16, but they have two more wins than the Marlins and one more than the Royals, so let’s say that they have overachieved to this point. Kudos to being a bit plucky in the early going!

But make no mistake: the Orioles are not a good team and I suspect they will soon be the worst in the league. When they are, they will likely get blown out quite often and when they are blown out they will put position players on the mound more than almost any other team. Heck, they’ve done it three times already this year and the season is only three weeks old.

The latest Orioles position player to pitch was catcher Jesús Sucre, who took the mound in last night’s 12-2 loss to the White Sox. And he wasn’t half bad! He retired the side in order and needed only nine pitches to do so:

There once was a time when it was a novelty to see a position player pitching. It happens all the time now, partially because of blowouts, partially because teams have decided it’s better to get embarrassed a bit than to burn a bullpen arm in a game they’ve given up trying to win.

I suspect the Orioles will take the practice to a whole new level in 2019, though. For better or for worse.