Every year, there are usually players that succeed expectations in baseball whether it’s a pitcher or batter. Some are notable, and others quietly build themselves a memorable season. Here is a batter from each position exceeding expectations this far into the season:
Catcher- Omar Narvaez, Seattle Mariners
Omar Narvaez was voted to his first career All-Star game this season. At the break, the 27-year-old had a line of .294/.366/.486 through 76 games which is the most games played by an American League catcher this season. Prior to 2019, Narvaez’s career-high in home runs was nine. So far this season, he has 16. He only needs two more to double his career-high in homers.
The Seattle Mariners are almost all but eliminated from the playoffs this season. However, Omar Narvaez has been something for Mariners fans to keep up with this season.
First Basemen- Pete Alonso, New York Mets
Pete Alonso is just a rookie, so expectations couldn’t be put too precisely on him. He likely smashed most people’s expectations. The Home Run Derby winner is up to 34 homers on the year as of August 5. There’s still a chance for him to break Aaron Judge’s rookie home run record of 52.
The Mets acquired Marcus Stroman near the deadline, and they also kept Noah Syndergaard. They may be making a playoff push, but they have to be excited about their future either way with rookies Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil playing great this season.
Second Basemen- DJ LeMahieu, New York Yankees
A lot of baseball fans were shocked this season when the Yankees didn’t land Manny Machado or Bryce Harper, but instead got DJ LeMahieu. Whatever the Yankees reason for this was, it’s working.
LeMahieu really got things going for New York this season when over half of the Yankees opening day roster was injured. The 31-year-old batted 99 times in May and ended the month with 32 hits including five homers. The Yankees’ second basemen also started there in the All-Star game this season. Finally, LeMahieu has 17 homers this season, already giving him a new career-high.
Third Basemen- Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox
Rafael Devers had the most hits of any third basemen at the All-Star break, yet didn’t get nominated to play in the game. To say he got snubbed is an understatement, as he slashed .324/.377/.546. Devers is part of the offensive powerhouse in Boston.
The 24-year-old finished July with a 1.142 OPS. He had 39 hits on the month, 22 of them going for extra bases. Some say his defense can get better, but nobody should be saying anything negative about his offensive performance.
Shortstop- Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox
Xander Bogaerts will finish off the left side of the Boston Red Sox infield for batter expectations exceeded. Ironically, Bogaerts is currently tied with Devers for the most doubles in the American League with 37. The 26-year-old has, like many others on this list surpassed his career-high in homers. At the time of writing, he has 25 which beats his best of 23 set last year. Bogaerts will look to continue to drive the ball into the gap and help this Red Sox team try and get to the postseason.
Left Fielder- Juan Soto, Washington Nationals
Juan Soto already has high expectations, he’s on a team where every game counts and he’s just 20 years old. That’s a lot of pressure. However, Soto doesn’t seem to let that bother him and is certainly acting more mature than a lot of people his age. After 101 games in 2019, Soto produced a line of .284/.394/.522. This includes 21 home runs and 17 doubles. People have said that Soto was too young to be called up at just 19 years old. He’s certainly proving them wrong up to this point.
Center Fielder- Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
Yes, Mike Trout is on a list going over guys exceeding batter expectations. As of August 5, Trout has a line of .296/.437/.659 with a 1.096 OPS. These are the kinds of numbers that he puts up consistently every season, and baseball fans have simply gotten used to it. He also plays for the Angels, who have only played in the postseason with Mike Trout once and got swept in the 2014 ALDS against the Royals. These factors can sometimes take away from the career this man is having. Either way, Trout will likely continue to go out there and perform well no matter what “they” say.
Right Fielder- Trey Mancini, Baltimore Orioles
Trey Mancini has provided the Orioles with more offense than anybody this season. Through 105 games, Mancini has hit 26 homers. Renato Nunez has 25, and the next best on the team is Jonathan Villar with 14. Mancini has helped this Orioles team avoid last place in the league, which is currently held by the Detroit Tigers. The 27-year-old likely doesn’t have much stress since the Orioles have no playoff hopes, and he can use that to his advantage to get some more hits to end the season.
Designated Hitter-Hunter Pence, Texas Rangers
This one could definitely go for either Nelson Cruz or Hunter Pence. Pence is building a remarkable story for himself. In a career decimated by injuries, the 36-year-old is rebounding nicely this season. He made the All-Star team for the first time since 2014, where he played all 162 games with the Giants.
Through 69 games this season, Pence is hitting .293/.343/.561 with a .904 OPS. This could end up being one of, if not the best offensive seasons of Pence’s career. His highest career OPS was .899 in his rookie season with the Astros in 2007. Beating that and having a .900+ OPS will almost undoubtedly be something Pence will remember for quite some time.
Feature Image Courtesy of Sporting News.