MLB’s No. 1 Baltimore prospect ‘broke out’ in June…AL Rookie of the Year race now a five-way tie

The race for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) American League (AL) Rookie of the Year is in full swing. The Baltimore Orioles’ Gunner Henderson, 21, the No. 1 overall preseason major league prospect, is “exploding.

Henderson went 3-for-5 with a grand slam and four RBIs in a home game against the Toronto Blue Jays today (Aug. 14), his third straight game with a home run and his third straight game with double-digit home runs (10).

Not living up to his No. 1 prospect ranking, Henderson, who was batting .189 with a .659 OPS through April, showed signs of adjusting to the big leagues in May with a .213 batting average and .733 OPS, and has literally exploded in June with a .483 batting average and 1.535 OPS. Last week, he was even named AL Player of the Week for the first time in his career.안전놀이터

With his latest surge, Henderson’s season numbers are looking pretty: 183 at-bats, 45 doubles, .246 batting average, 10 home runs, 25 RBIs, and an OPS of .830.

Josh Young at third base for Texas. Photo = AP
Henderson’s late surge has widened the AL Rookie of the Year race to a “five-way” battle.

Initially, Josh Young, 25, of the Texas Rangers, who “burned” early in the season, was in the lead with 13 home runs and an OPS of 0.838, but if he faltered, his Rookie of the Year honors would be in jeopardy.

Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida (29) of the Boston Red Sox has also landed in the MLB with seven home runs and an OPS of 0.835, while Oakland Athletics second baseman Ryan Noda (27) is not far behind with seven home runs and an OPS of 0.858.

Masataka Hoshida has adjusted well to the big leagues. Photo = AP Yonhap
Hunter Braun (24) of the Houston Astros is the only other pitcher close to winning the award. In 75.1 innings pitched, he has a 3.35 ERA and 83 strikeouts.

The season hasn’t even turned the corner yet, so predictions don’t mean much at this point, but it’s clear that the emergence of new faces will be another thing to watch.

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