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Baseball's rising rookies, struggling stars

Some new names are coming on strong this season, while some familiar ones are off to a slow start.

May 21, 2011|By Kevin Baxter
  • Baltimore rookie Zach Britton is a rising baseball star, giving up no earned runs and only nine hits in the last 19 innings.
Baltimore rookie Zach Britton is a rising baseball star, giving up no earned… (Joe Giza / Reuters )

Is there a changing of the guard underway in baseball? Based on performances so far this season, some established players are entering the twilight of their careers while several rookies are beginning to sparkle. Times sportswriter Kevin Baxter charts their directions:

Rookies rising

1. Zach Britton (Baltimore): No earned runs, nine hits in last 19 innings; 5-2, 2.14 overall.

2. Darwin Barney (Cubs): 10th in NL with .318 average.

3. Michael Pineda (Seattle): Gave up one run or less in four of eight starts; 5-2, 2.45.

4. Aaron Crow (Kansas City): 0.83 ERA, 22 strikeouts in 212/3 innings.

5. Craig Kimbrel (Atlanta): One win, 11 saves, 34 strikeouts in 21 innings.

6. Jeremy Hellickson (Tampa Bay): Three wins, three earned runs allowed in May.

7. Tim Collins (Kansas City): 2-1, 2.96; leads rookie relievers with 24 appearances.

8. Al Alburquerque (Detroit): 23 strikeouts, seven hits in 132/3 innings.

9. Mark Trumbo (Angels): Leads team in HRs (7), second in RBIs (21).

10. Dillon Gee (Mets): 3-0 record overall, 2.61 ERA in May.

Falling stars

1. Jorge Posada (Yankees, age 39) .178 average is lowest in the AL.

2. Jason Varitek, (Red Sox, 39): Hitting .190 without a home run.

3. Ryan Dempster (Cubs, 34) 6.91 ERA is worst among qualified pitchers.

4. Vernon Wells (Angels, 32): Introduced to new team with a pulled groin, .183 average.

5. Adam Dunn (White Sox, 31): .196 average, more strikeouts than hits and RBIs combined.

6. Torii Hunter (Angels, 35): Batting .220, has hit into AL-high 12 double plays.

7. John Lackey (Red Sox, 32): On DL after yielding six or more runs in four of seven starts.

8. Adam LaRoche (Nationals, 31): Last in majors with .169 average, .257 slugging.

9. Chris Carpenter (Cardinals, 36): 6.31 ERA, .369 batting average against in May.

10. Albert Pujols (Cardinals, 31): Hasn't homered in a month, leads majors with 13 double plays.

*Statistics through Friday's games.

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