Padres rookie starter Chris Paddack is a good one. Over six starts he’s got a 1.91 ERA and an excellent K/BB ratio of 35/9 over 33 innings. He throws gas but changes speeds wonderfully and doesn’t walk many guys. He’s only 23 but he’s exactly what you want in an ace. All he lacks is the experience.
Mets rookie first baseman Pete Alonso is a good one. Over 34 games he’s got a line of .280/.364/.600 with 10 homers and 27 driven in. He also just won Rookie of the Month honors for April. He’s only 24 but he’s exactly the sort of slugger Mets fans had been hoping the team would develop for many, many years.
Tonight they’ll face each other in San Diego as Paddack starts for the Padres against the Mets.
Yesterday Paddack did what not many baseball players do: he name-checked Alonso as a guy he perceives as a rival with specific reference to Rookie of the Month/Rookie of the Year honors and said, in no uncertain terms, that he’s gunning for him:
“He’s a great player, no doubt. Does he deserve (the Rookie of the Month honor)? Absolutely. But I’m coming for him. We’ll see Monday who the top dog is. That’s something I’m looking forward to, for sure. And I’m not saying that in a cocky way. I’m saying that because I know what I want, just like I’m sure he knows what he wants. It’ll be a fun little matchup.
“Do I wish it was me? Yeah. But the way I look at it is, do you want to be Rookie of the Month or Rookie of the Year? We’ll see, man. We’ve got a long season and I’m looking forward to Monday, competing against him.”
Given all the “he’s a great player” and the comment that Alonso “absolutely” deserved Rookie of the Month honors, that’s not really even close to trash talk, even if the New York tabloids portray it as trash talk after today’s game. But it’s a lot closer to it than the typically bland mutual admiration society that you tend to see from ballplayers talking about other ballplayers.
Thing is, almost all of them think the way Paddack talks. It’s rather refreshing to hear him be so honest about it.