The Tenth Inning
 The Tenth Inning Blog
Periodically, I will post new entries about current baseball topics.  The posts will typically be a mixture of commentary, history, facts, and stats.  Hopefully, they will provoke some  of your thoughts or emotions. Clicking on the word "Comments" associated with each post below will open a new dialog box to enter or retrieve any feedback.
A "Family Ties" All-Rookie Team

One of baseball’s oldest traditions has included the selection of “all-rookie” teams at the end of the season to highlight the best performances by the newest players.   Topps Chewing Gum and Baseball Digest were among baseball’s long-standing institutions that named their team of rookies with the best performances of the season.

If you’ve kept up with my blogs this summer, you’ll know I’ve written several times about the extraordinary class of rookies in Major League Baseball this year.  I’ve also touted the prevalence of new players who have relatives that also played in the majors.

This week I’ve combined those two topics to come up with a 2019 all-rookie team of players with baseball in their bloodlines.  There are some pretty big names on my list—not just one-year-wonders, but players I think will be around for a while.  Several are third-generation baseball professionals and a few players have Hall of Famers in their family trees.

First base – Kevin Cron (.211/.269/.521, 6 HR, 16 RBI).  His numbers don’t jump out at you because he played in only 39 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks, but he did hit 38 HR in only 82 games at Triple-A Reno.  He is the brother of Twins first baseman C.J. Cron and son of Diamondbacks coach Chris Cron.

Second base Cavan Biggio (.234/.364/.429, 16 HR, 48 RBI, 14 SB).  He got an early season call-up with Toronto and didn’t relinquish his starting job for the remainder of the season.  Perhaps one of the best indicators of the gritty play of Biggio was his bunt against an extreme defensive shift with four outfielders that he turned into a double.  He is the son of another former gritty player, Hall of Famer Craig Biggio.

Third base Vlad Guerrero Jr. (.272/.339/.433, 15 HR, 69 RBI).  This 20-year-old came into the league with the most fanfare of a rookie since Ken Griffey Jr., because of his comparison with his Hall of Fame father Vlad Guerrero Sr.  He has a flair for dramatic hits.  In late July the Blue Jays third baseman hit two grand slams in 10 days.  Like his father, Vlad Jr. showed he could smash unhittable pitches, too.

Shortstop – Fernando Tatis Jr. (.317/.379/.590, 22 HR, 53 RBI, 16 SB).  Despite missing half the season due to injuries, he will get legitimate consideration for the National League’s Rookie of the Year.  He earned the San Diego Padres’ starting shortstop job coming out of spring training and hit a home run in his first major-league at-bat.  He had the most home runs by a rookie under age 21 before season-ending surgery for a broken thumb.  He is the son of former 11-year major-leaguer Fernando Tatis, who once hit 34 HR and 107 RBI for St. Louis, while his grandfather played in the Houston Astros minor-league system in the 1970s.  His 17-year-old brother, Eijah, signed a pro contract with the Chicago White Sox late in the season.

Outfield – Mike Yastrzemski (.272/.334/.518, 21 HR, 55 RBI, 64 R).  He got a relatively late start of his major-league career at 28 years old with the San Francisco Giants, but he hasn’t let down the family name in any manner.  He is the grandson of Boston Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski.  A left-handed hitter like his grandfather, he hit three home runs in a game on August 16 against the D’backs.  He hit a sentimental home run in Fenway Park on September 17 with his grandfather in attendance.  His father, Mike, played in the minors for five seasons, reaching the Triple-A level in the White Sox organization.

Outfield --Josh Naylor (.249/.315/.403, 8 HR, 32 RBI).  The 22-year-old Canadian is an integral part of the youth movement going on in San Diego.  He was hitting .314 with 10 home runs with Triple-A El Paso when he got his promotion in late May.  His brother, Bo, is a prospect in the Cleveland Indians organization.

Outfield – Kyle Tucker (.269/.319/.537, 4 HR, 11 RBI).  He made his major-league debut last year, but still maintained his rookie status into this season.  On this all-rookie team, he had the least amount of time on a major-league roster this year, having only been brought up at the trade deadline.  However, he may wind up having have one of the highest ceilings as a player.  His older brother, Preston, played for the Astros in 2015-16, but now is in the Atlanta Braves organization.

Catcher – Austin Nola (.269/.342/.454, 10 HR, 31 RBI).  He is another late-blooming rookie at 29-years-old.  He had previously never hit more than six home runs in a season; but with his seven in the minors this year in addition to his 10 big-league dingers, it’s been a banner year for him.  The older brother of Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola, he’s proved to be a versatile player at catcher, outfielder, first base, and second base.

Pitcher – Zach Plesac (8 W, 6 L, 3.81 ERA, WHIP 1.228).  In his third professional season, he got 21 starts for the Cleveland Indians’ rotation which suffered major injuries throughout the season.  His best outing was a 4-hit shutout against the Los Angeles Angels on September 10.  He is the nephew of former 18-year major league pitcher Dan Plesac and the son of former minor leaguer Joe Plesac.

Designated Hitter – Bo Bichette (.311/.358/.571. 11 HR, 21 RBI).  He filled out the trio of Toronto Blue Jays rookies (with Biggio and Guerrero) in the starting lineup every day, after he made his debut on July 29.  He tied a major-league record held by Ted Williams, when he hit a double in his ninth consecutive game.  Overall for the season, he had 18 doubles out his 62 total hits.  He usually played shortstop for the Blue Jays, but for this all-rookie team, he’s filling the spot as DH.  He is the son of former four-time all-star Dante Bichette.

Manager – David Bell (75 W, 87 L, NL Central 4th place).  In his rookie season as a major-league manager of the Cincinnati Reds, the team won its most games since 2014.  He had the Reds only 3½ games out of first place on July 4, but they ultimately fell back of the division lead by 16 games in a very competitive division.  He is the son of Buddy Bell, who was a major-league manager for nine seasons with the Detroit, Colorado, and Kansas City.  He is the grandson of Gus Bell and the brother of Mike Bell, both former big-league players.  The Bells are one of only four families in major-league history with three generations of players.

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