A little more than a week until MLB Baseball’s All Star Game and we already at the half way point of the season, I wanted to look at some of the breakout or star baseball players in the first half. There are several young and veteran MLB stars , but there are three that stand out to me so far.
Chris Davis of the Orioles has hit 32 home runs and a .330 batting average so far and could be on pace to break Roger Maris “normal and untainted” record of 61 home runs and Babe Ruth at 60 which were the single season records for home runs before the steroid era in the late 1990s and early 2000s when Mark McGuire hit 70 home runs and Barry Bonds hit 73.
But those records are tainted and as soon as a power hitting star like Davis has a big year, the naysayers and critics say steroids or HGH which is somewhat unfair until proven true and then that’s always tricky as we’ve seen with several suspected players. But a great start for Chris Davis and congrats to him.
Also an amazing start for Detroit Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer who is 13-0 after a 6-2 Tigers victory over the Blue Jays in Detroit. He has kind of passed by Justin Verlander as the ace and best pitcher currently in Detroit and Verlander is a 2 time Cy Young winner and has pitched a couple no hitters. But Scherzer is the first pitcher to start 13-0 since Roger Clemens started 14-0 in 1986 for the Boston Red Sox.
Scherzer has also matched Tigers pitcher Bobo Newsom from 1940, with 18 starts without a loss. Scherzer should start the All Star Game for the American League, and in a real outside shot could Scherzer go after another former Tigers pitcher Denny McClain’s record of 31-6 back in 1968. Everything would have to go right in the second half, but the way Scherzer is pitching right now who knows what kinds of heights he can reach.
Finally , Yasiel Puig, the Cuban star right fielder on the Los Angeles Dodgers has been an instant success. Puig is the first major leaguer with 34 hits and 7 home runs in the first 20 games of his career. He hits for power and average, he can steal bases and he has an arm like a cannon that has already thrown out three runners from right field. It will be very interesting to see how Puig develops once he and other players adapt to his games. And we’ll see if Puig is just a flashing star or a superstar. Some like Phiilies reliever Jonathon Paplebon have questioned his ability, while others think he could or should be voted into next weeks All Star Game even after only a month of major league play. He’s been that good, and the All Star Game is played under bright lights and for home field advantage in the World Series so its important for a number of reasons. But is Puig deserving for his short time of play in the major leagues. That is the question.
As I said there are many excellent stars in the major leagues right now but Chris Davis, Max Scherzer and Yasiel Puig are the brightest lights at this time. Best wishes and enjoy the baseball games and its stars.
References: MLB Statistics, Bleacher Report