- Pete Alonso is the winner of this year’s MLB Home Run Derby
- Alonso enters the second half of the season with 30 home runs, and is within striking distance of Aaron Judges’s rookie record of 52 homers
- Hobbled by a hamstring injury that cost him the entire month of May, Fernando Tatis Jr. has been red-hot since his return
Pete Alonso’s dream season continued on Monday night. Already on pace to set a new Major League record for most home runs by a rookie, Alonso became just the second rookie to win the MLB Home Run Derby, outlasting Toronto Blue Jays phenom Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and cementing his perch as the favorite on the NL Rookie of the Year odds.
Odds to Win 2019 National League Rookie of the Year
|Team||2019 NL Rookie of the Year Odds at Bovada|
|Fernando Tatis Jr.||+250|
*Odds taken 07/10/19
Alonso on Record-Setting Pace
Selected 64th overall by the Mets in the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft, Alonso made steady progress in two years of minor league ball, capped by last year’s 36-home run campaign, split between New York’s AA and AAA affiliates. The 24-year-old has carried over his impressive power at the plate into his major league debut.
Alonso has connected on 30 home runs so far this season, smashing the NL record for most long balls by a rookie prior to the All-Star break, set two years ago by Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger.
.@Pete_Alonso20 smashed his 30th home run of the season extending his Mets' Rookie Record! ???
— DAZN USA (@DAZN_USA) July 7, 2019
And with 72 games remaining on the Mets’ regular-season schedule, Alonso remains well within striking distance of the rookie record for most home runs in a season, set by New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge two years ago, when he cracked 52 dingers.
Alonso has seen a steady increase in his batting average in recent weeks, hitting .308 since May 1st.
Alonso’s power production has not come at the expense of consistency at the plate. In fact, Alonso has seen a steady increase in his batting average in recent weeks, hitting .308 since May 1st to lift his average on the season to .280, fifth among NL rookies with at least 200 at-bats this season.
Pete Alonso is on the same exact track as Aaron Judge in his rookie season; tying his 30 home runs before the All-Star break, winning the HR derby, and is now going into the second half to try and beat the HR rookie record of 52 in a single season.
— Vlad Jr Fan (@GIeyberGood) July 9, 2019
However, Alonso will likely need to maintain his torrid pace to stay a step ahead of an impressive class of budding first-year stars with sights set on claiming NL Rookie of the Year honors.
Fernando Tatis Jr. sits second at an attractive +250, well ahead of Atlanta Braves teammates Austin Riley and Mike Soroka, who remain deadlocked at +550, while Pittsburgh Pirates outfield Bryan Reynolds joins Cincinnati Reds third baseman Nick Senzel at a lengthy +1100.
Tatis Dominant Since Return from Injury
Tatis opened his rookie campaign with the San Diego Padres pegged as one of the top three prospects in baseball, and has not disappointed. The 20-year-old missed the entire month of May with a hamstring injury, but has returned to action with a vengeance, batting .352 since coming back from injury on June 6th, while adding eight home runs, 16 total extra-base hits, and seven stolen bases during that stretch to move atop the Padres team stats with a sparkling 1.013 OPS.
Fernando Tatis, Jr. joins Mike Trout in 2012 as the only rookies to have 10 HR, 10 SB and a .950+ OPS at the All-Star break. pic.twitter.com/nNHxNRXgVe
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) July 7, 2019
Tatis has also been steady in the field, compiling a respectable .963 fielding percentage, and sits 22nd among shortstops with 147 assists despite seeing action in just 54 games.
Riley, Soroka Contributing to Braves’ Success
Riley and Soroka have both played crucial roles in the Braves’ climb to the top of the NL East standings, which has lifted the club to a strong +800 bet on the World Series odds. Riley enjoyed a spectacular major league debut, connecting on nine home runs in his first 18 games. However, the 22-year-old outfielder has cooled off considerably at the plate, batting a meager .167 over the 14 games ahead of the All-Star break.
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) July 5, 2019
Conversely, Soroka has remained red-hot, taking a 9-1 record into the second half, and has surrendered more than two earned runs on just three occasions in 15 starts, fueling an impressive 2.42 ERA.
Reynolds, Senzel Trail the Pack
Reynolds leads all rookie hitters with at least 200 at-bats, tallying an impressive .342 average, but lacks the power numbers of Alonso and Tatis, while injury troubles have plagued Senzel, who entered the All-Star break nursing a pair of ankle injuries that have limited him to just 55 games.
Nick Senzel leaves game in 2nd inning after appearing to injure his right foot or ankle trying to make a catch at the wall in the first. He began the season on Triple-A Louisville's injured list with a right ankle sprain that occurred in spring training.
— Mark Schmetzer (@markschmetzer) July 7, 2019
With the battle for top rookie shaping up as a two-way race between Alonso and Tatis, Alonso maintains the clear edge. However, maintaining the power numbers he has demonstrated so far on a Mets squad regularly struggling with clubhouse strife, the opportunity exists for Tatis to close the gap with a string second half, making the second-generation Major Leaguer a worthwhile value pick to take home NL Rookie of the Year honors.
Pick: Fernando Tatis Jr. (+250)
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