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Wally Joyner Moves to Head of a Classy '86 Rookie Class

May 29, 1986|ROSS NEWHAN | Times Staff Writer

While Wally Joyner has appeared to be in his own alliterative World, he is not the only member of a touted freshman class to have produced passing grades through the first quarter of the 1986 baseball season.

The Baby Boomers, in fact, have been more boom than bust, with Joyner, the Angel first baseman, and Jose Canseco, the Oakland A's left fielder, emerging from the spring hyperbole to become--and to supply--the biggest hits.

Through Tuesday, for example, Joyner ranked first and Canseco third among major league home-run hitters, the former with 16, the latter with 13.

They were tied for the American League runs-batted-in lead with 41 apiece and were among the leaders in several other statistical categories, two of the most significant being:

--Game-winning RBIs: Joyner ranked second with six while hitting .315 overall.

--Hitting with runners in scoring position: The Elias News Bureau doesn't compile standings until the season ends, but Canseco's .348 figures near the top and represents a dynamite overlay compared to his overall .275.

Elsewhere:

--The Texas Rangers' surprising lead in the AL West stems, in part, from the contribution of five rookie pitchers and freshman left fielder Pete Incaviglia, who in making the jump from Oklahoma State is taking a run at Joyner and Canseco.

Incaviglia has 17 RBIs and a .364 average in his last 25 games. He is hitting .273 overall with 9 home runs and 25 RBIs, having apparently shaken a season-opening slump.

--Now on the disabled list with strained knee ligaments, Milwaukee first baseman Billy Joe Robidoux, last year's Texas League MVP, had driven in 18 runs by mid-May, batted .400 with runners in scoring position in the seventh inning or later and compiled an overall average of .290.

--San Francisco first baseman Will Clark, the former Olympian whose professional experience includes only a half-season in Class A, leads NL rookies in home runs (6) and RBIs (16); Charlie Kerfeld, the 6-6, 250 pound middle-relief pitcher from Knobnoster, Mo., has helped Houston maintain its NL West lead and Dave Smith save a league-leading 11 games by fashioning a 1.54 earned-run average to go with a 4-1 record and 2 saves; unheralded Mark Eichhorn has come out of the Toronto bullpen to go 4-2 with 4 saves and an 0.86 ERA; Milwaukee left-hander Juan Nieves, the best of the 1986 pitching prospects, is 4-1, fulfilling expectations.

Will it last? Can it last? Time will tell.

Several of April's most impressive rookies are struggling as opposing clubs get their second look.

Montreal first baseman Andres Gallaraga, a .415 hitter in April, is batting .200 in May.

Cleveland catcher Andy Allanson, a .388 hitter in April, is batting .193 in May.

Chicago White Sox center fielder John Cangelosi, the self-proclaimed Spud Webb of baseball, had a .216 May average when benched, a difficult position from which to expand on his 23 steals, second in the AL to Rickey Henderson's 31.

Even Will Clark, despite his still impressive power numbers, is struggling. Clark had only three hits in his last 28 at bats entering Wednesday night's game at Philadelphia, had struck out 10 times in his last six games and faced the prospect of losing his starting job to former Stanford star Mike Aldrete, hitting .375 when recently recalled from Phoenix.

For Danny Tartabull, the Seattle second baseman who hit 43 homers at Calgary and was off to a solid start with the Mariners (6 homers, 22 RBIs), there were problems of another kind. Tartabull came down with anemia, lost 15 pounds and is now on the disabled list.

So is San Diego second baseman Bip Roberts, who was expected to replace the catalytic speed of Alan Wiggins but was hitting a sporadic .242 and playing irregularly when he went on the DL with a pulled groin muscle.

Boom and bust. It's the nature of the game.

A LOOK AT THE ROOKIES

BATTERS Avg AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SB Joyner, Angels .315 181 33 57 6 0 16 41 13 0 Robidoux, Mil .290 107 13 31 8 0 1 18 23 0 Galarraga, Mon .284 109 18 31 3 0 5 15 14 4 Allanson, Cle .283 106 10 30 2 2 0 10 4 2 Canseco, Oak .275 167 27 46 6 0 13 41 29 3 Incaviglia, Tex .273 143 26 39 8 2 9 25 13 0 Thompson, SF .264 144 20 38 10 0 1 13 14 0 Clark, SF .260 177 31 46 10 2 6 16 14 1 Roberts, SD .242 66 6 16 1 1 0 2 4 7 Tartabull, Sea .235 115 16 27 6 2 6 22 16 2 Lombardozzi, Min .235 119 16 28 6 2 5 17 15 1 Cangelosi, WSx .227 132 22 30 3 0 1 6 25 23 Stillwell, Cin .196 56 5 11 1 1 0 4 10 0

PITCHERS W L ERA G GS SV IP H HR BB SO Eichhorn, Tor 4 2 1.01 19 0 4 44 18 2 12 46 Kerfeld, Hou 4 1 1.53 21 0 2 35 19 2 14 28 Williams, Tex 3 0 2.12 17 0 0 17 10 1 9 16 Correa, Tex 2 3 3.04 8 8 0 56 39 3 36 50 Plesac, Mil 3 2 3.16 11 0 3 25 21 1 7 20 Guzman, Tex 4 5 3.73 10 10 0 60 70 6 19 32 Nieves, Mil 4 1 4.55 10 10 0 59 61 3 30 36 Wegman, Mil 0 5 5.00 10 10 0 63 73 10 17 20 Witt, Tex 2 3 5.24 9 9 0 46 32 6 47 39 Henry, Tex 1 0 5.28 16 0 0 15 11 1 18 15

Note: Statistics includes Tuesday's games.

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