Starting with Jackie Robinson 66 years ago, the Dodgers organization has had a stranglehold on the National League Rookie of the Year award.
They have 16 in team history, which is twice the number of any other team in either league. The Dodgers had four in a row from 1979-82 (Rick Sutcliffe, Steve Howe, Fernando Valenzuela, Steve Sax), then five in a row from 1992-95 (Eric Karros, Mike Piazza, Raul Mondesi, Hideo Nomo, Todd Hollandsworth). But since Hollandsworth — undoubtedly the biggest one-year wonder of all of them — the Dodgers’ haven’t produced a Rookie of the Year. The well ran dry, and it’s probably no coincidence that the Dodgers haven’t won a pennant since 1988, either.
But they certainly seem to have a candidate this year to break the rookie drought. The Dodgers called up 22-year-old outfielder Yasiel Puig a week ago, and the Cuban defector has hit four home runs in his first five MLB games, tying a record set by the Mets’ Mike Jacobs in 2005. Puig’s 10 RBI in his first five games also tied a record.
Many of the players in the NL Rookie of the Year race so far — the Cardinals’ Shelby Miller, the Marlins’ Jose Fernandez, Puig’s teammate Hyun-Jin Ryu — got a two-month head start. But none of them had a start like this, either.
On to this week’s Monday Morning Manager:
Domonic Brown, Phillies: Perhaps the one player hotter than Puig right now. The 25-year-old Phillies outfielder has 19 home runs and is rapidly becoming one of the most feared hitters in the NL.
Everth Cabrera, Padres: He’s on the Biogenesis list, but it hasn’t slowed him down yet. The 26-year-old shortstop is 16 for his last 32, is getting on base at a .374 clip and already has 29 stolen bases this season.
Mat Latos, Reds: Cincinnati hasn’t lost in his last 20 starts, dating to last Aug. 24. This season, Latos is 6-0 with a 2.87 ERA.
Mark Reynolds, Indians: Is 3 for his last 22 with no homers and he’s got a lot of strikeouts, as usual — 68 in 60 games.
Starlin Castro, Cubs: Shortstop is mired in a slump. The career .293 hitter is 1 for 20 in June and has a .243 average and a .283 on-base percentage.
Aaron Harang, Mariners: Veteran righty threw a shutout on May 27 against the Padres, but has been hit hard most of the time. He gave up six earned runs in 2 1/3 innings in a loss to the Yankees on Thursday.
1. St. Louis Cardinals (41-22, last week No. 1)
2. Atlanta Braves (39-24, last week No. 3)
3. Boston Red Sox (39-25, last week unranked)
4. Texas Rangers (37-25, last week No. 2)
5. Cincinnati Reds (37-26, last week No. 5)
27. Chicago Cubs (25-35, last week No. 28)
27. Milwaukee Brewers (25-37, last week No. 29)
28. New York Mets (23-35, last week No. 26)
29. Houston Astros (22-42, last week No. 28)
30. Miami Marlins (18-44, last week No. 30)