Two months of the 2009 Major League Baseball season are in the books and the first phrase that comes to my mind is the much famous local enquiry que pasa boricua ?
Over 50 games have been played and it is very difficult to find much names of our local stars in the top of the hitting and pitching statistics charts. By now it is well known that golden years of such past as future hall of famers Roberto Alomar and Edgar Martínez and others such as Bernie Williams, Juan González, Rubén Sierra, Sandy Alomar Jr.,Javier López and many others are all gone however we ponder sometimes what’s happening with the current crop.
It is very feasible we are concern with the health of Carlos Delgado and when he will come back to play with the New York Mets or as many are following very closely Ivan Rodriguez probable last ride in the Majors with the Houston Astros. It is very genuine they have a huge army of baseball fans watching them day to day but we much need as a pueblo a little more than nostalgia. We also want to see our ballplayers be hot.
If we were going to call this date this season Puerto Rico’s MVP in the Majors it should be Carlos Beltrán. The New York Met outfielder is top among the best hitters in the National League and among the best in other three offensive categories. His over .340 average constant pace have kept him at the top among the first five batters in the old circuit with fellow latino Albert Pujols and Miguel Tejada in his tail.
If the Manati native continues his hitting stride there is a good chance it can be seen the first Puerto Rican to win a batting title in the Majors since 1998. That year Yankees’ Bernie Williams hit .339 to win the American League batting crown. Before him was Edgar Martinez with the Seattle Mariners who won the batting champion crowns in 1992 and 1995. The last boricua to win it in the National League was the late Roberto Clemente with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1967. His last of four batting titles.
In the National League other only fellow natives that truly are standing out at this moment of time are D’ Backs second baseman Felipe Lopez and brothers Bengie and Yadier Molina of the Giants and Cardinals respectively.
In the American League no boricua is among the top ten in any offensive category however the leader of the pack exceeding many of the expectations that were written for him this season is Mike Lowell. Many in Boston were not completely sure if he was going to be fully recover from his medical procedure from last season. Lowell missed post-season action and underwent arthroscopic surgery last October 20 to repair his right hip which was said at the time to be a complete success.
At this moment, the Red Sox third baseman is hitting so well for average and power and playing again as a gold glover that he is a strong candidate for American League Comeback Player of the Year. Other islander that is starting to wake up offensively lately is Blue Jays’ Alexis Rios.
Among hurlers, best news so far among leaders in the National League are Javier Vazquez (Atlanta Braves), Kiko Calero (Florida Marlins) and Pedro Feliciano (New York Mets). Let’s keep a watch on Joel Piñeiro that if he continues his course could be a strong candidate for National League Comeback Player of the Year.
This column was also published by The Puerto Rico Daily Sun / MLB Commentary