View From the Center: N.L. Central Rookies
Welcome to "View From the Center", where our resident pseudo-expert slash Cincinnati Reds fan Jeff Gentil takes a regular rundown of the topics of interest within baseball's divisional landscape. This week, fabulous freshmen.
Cincinnati Reds: Mike Leake could give Jason Heyward a run for his money in the rookie of the year race. If not for a 7-run meltdown in the ninth inning to the Braves last week, Leake would be 5-0 with a 2.91 ERA. Leake, who never spent a single day in the minor leagues, has easily been the Reds' best starting pitcher to date.
Chicago Cubs: Tyler Colvin and Starlin Castro are pretty even. Colvin has been up since season's beginning but Castro made an immediate splash, driving in six runs in his first game. Unfortunately he has only driven in five since then in 17 games. Still, he's batting .350 with just six strikeouts. Colvin is batting a solid .313 with a .609 slugging percentage.
Houston Astros: Tommy Manzella has the unenviable task of being a rookie shortstop for a bad team. He hasn't helped his cause by starting off batting .190 with just one homer and six RBI. Even worse, he's made seven errors. Sadly, that's good enough to be the Astros' top rookie.
Milwaukee Brewers: Brew Crew shortstop Alcides Escobar - just barely a rookie himself after 125 at-bats last season (130 is the cutoff) - is having a slightly better go of it on, surprisingly, an almost equally bad team. Escobar is batting .249 with three homers and 19 RBI.
Pittsburgh Pirates: NO takers in this categories, as the Pirates are full of players who either were rookies last season (Andrew McCutchen, Garrett Jones) or are not yet arrived in the major leagues (Brad Lincoln, Pedro Alvarez, JHose Tabata and Neil Walker).
St. Louis Cardinals: This one is a tight race between Jaime Garcia and David Freese. Garcia is 4-2 with a stellar 1.28 ERA, which is easily tops among National League rookies. Freese is batting .315 with three homers and 28 RBI while playing a steady third base.