It's been a helluva year for rookies in the National League East.
Jason Heyward made the Braves in Spring Training, homered in his first game and is on track to start in the All-Star Game come July. Tuesday night saw the debut of Mike Stanton who shares Heyward's size, penchant for hitting with power and 20 years on the planet. The only differences are that Stanton swings righty and had to settle for three hits and no homer in his first big league game.
Impressive as those guys are, they pale in comparison to Stephen Strasburg. The first pick of the 2009 draft has been doused with more hype than anything Apple has ever created and his debut on Tuesday was one of the more eagerly anticipated regular season baseball games in memory. It became one of the most memorable as Strasburg lived up to every word of his advance billing with 14 strikeouts in seven innings of work that dropped jaws across the country.
Strasburg's performance had to scare Mets fans and remind them of better days. Rookie pitchers don't do that, unless, of course, they are named Dwight Gooden but now it looks like Dr. K is pitching for someone else in the division and the Mets are going to have to figure out how to beat him a handful of times every year into the 2020s. Thank God they have their own rookie weapon.
Ike Davis doesn't have the precocity of Heyward and Stanton nor does he have the once-in-a-lifetime portfolio that Strasburg has brought with him, but he's got something and he reminded everyone of that in the 11th inning on Tuesday night. His blast into the nether reaches of Citi Field probably showed up on LaGuardia radar for a moment and shut up any of the whiners about the size of the stadium with an illustration that serious power cares not for vast dimensions -- a nice lesson in the same game that saw Jose Reyes and Angel Pagan barely get and barely miss home runs respectively.
Just knock the thing into the jetstream, fellas, and let Mother Nature take care of the rest.
To say we're excited to see Davis dig in against Strasburg for the first time would be an understatement of staggering proportions, although less of one than when we say we're excited to watch them face off 18 or so times for many years to come.
The 2-1 victory was the Mets' ninth straight at Citi Field and it was another splendid night for Mike Pelfrey, but those were afterthoughts in the face of rookiemania.
You can see the next five years playing out in front of your eyes in a division that's buzzing with talent, something that is a little less terrifying to the Mets because Davis and his extra inning moonshots will be there to help them navigate their way in this new world of wonder.