Following the recent unbelievable tear Reds’ rookie Aristides Aquino has been on, let’s take a look at some of the best starts to a career of the decade. Aquino was called up on August 1 and has hit eight home runs in his first Major League games (an MLB record) and 11 in his first 17 (most in first 17 since 1900).
Keep in mind these are in no particular order and I may have left some out.
Gary Sanchez (New York Yankees, 2016)
The last time someone did something close to what Aquino has done was three years ago when Sanchez made his debut around the same time. Sanchez also set a new home run record by hitting 19 home runs in 45 games, the fastest to get to the 19 home run mark. He then hit his 20th home run a few days later in his 51st game to tie a record that was held for 86 years. With Aquino now having 11 home runs in 21 career games, that record could be in jeopardy of being tied again or broken this time. Sanchez ended up being the runner-up for AL Rookie of the Year despite only playing in 53 games.
Yasiel Puig (Los Angeles Dodgers, 2013)
Puig had an unbelievable start to his career, arguably even the greatest of all-time. Over his first 28 career games, he slashed an unreal .440/.466/.743 with eight home runs, seven doubles, 18 RBIs, and 22 runs scored. Puig recorded 44 hits in the month of June which was a Dodgers’ rookie record and fell just four short of Joe Dimaggio’s MLB record 48 in May 1936. Not only did Puig hit at an insane rate, also hitting his first career grand slam in his second game, but he also showed off his insane arm. He threw out runners from right field left and right. Oh, and he also made bat-flips cool again, bat-flipping without a care in the world.
Brett Lawrie (Toronto Blue Jays, 2011)
While he didn’t turn into the perennial all-star he originally thought to have been developed into, Lawrie still had one of the best starts to a career. Over his first 26 career games from August 5 to September 1, Lawrie slashed .340/.392/.713 with seven home runs and 20 RBI. During this four week period, he was arguably the league’s most unstoppable player, but injuries have kept him from keeping that level of play and being a star. The Blue Jays ultimately flipped him to Oakland for Josh Donaldson in 2014.
Jason Heyward (Atlanta Braves, 2010)
Heyward was the league’s No. 1 overall prospect entering 2010, and he didn’t disappoint one bit during his rookie year. His first at-bat was a sign of things to come, as he belted a home run deep to right field on the third pitch. Over his first 26 games from April 5 to May 5, Heyward slashed .286/.408/.619, eight total home runs, and 24 RBIs, and he showed a lot of patience for such a young player. He put up solid enough numbers in the first half to earn himself an All-Star nod and wound up finishing runner-up in Rookie of the Year voting at season’s end to San Francisco Giant Buster Posey. His final line for the season in 142 games was .277/.393/.456 with 18 home runs, 72 RBI, 11 stolen bases, and 91 BB.
Aaron Judge (New York Yankees, 2016-17)
Aaron Judge’s career couldn’t have started out any better, as he hit a home run in his very first at-bat. While he didn’t break out much that same year in 2016, his first full year in 2017 was one of the most unforgettable rookie years ever. Judge slashed .284/.422/.627 over 155 games while driving in 114 runs and walking 127 times. The big kicker was his power, as he broke Mark McGwire’s home run record of 49 by smashing 52 long balls. He also took home the Home Run Derby belt and started the All-Star Game. With such impressive numbers, Judge ran away with the Rookie of the Year award and finished as Runner-Up for the MVP to Houston Astro Jose Altuve.
Pete Alonso (New York Mets, 2019)
Alonso’s rookie year this year is almost an exact mirror image of Judge’s, as he will challenge the rookie home run record. He currently, as of June 22, has 40 home runs with more than a month left in the season. Just like Judge in his rookie year, Alonso won the home run derby, facing off against fellow stud rookie Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. of the Blue Jays in the final. Alonso is currently slashing .268/.372/.598 and has driven in 97 runs. Time will only tell how good of rookie year Alonso will have compared to Judge’s, but he has locked up the Rookie of the Year award for the most part just like Judge.