By Joe Sparacio
Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger are dominating headlines (and rightfully so), which means some very solid rookies are getting overlooked elsewhere, especially with other top prospects (Yoan Moncada, Rafael Devers) getting called up midseason.
Let's take a look at a few who are have stellar years.
10. Trey Mancini (UTIL)
Seventeen homers and 55 RBIs in only 89 games is nothing to sneeze at. Mancini is also batting .296 on the season, and he sure has come in clutch for an Orioles team that has seen Mark Trumbo struggle. He's also been an absolute weapon against right-handers, entering the weekend with a .962 OPS against them. He's cooled off since the All-Star break, but Mancini has certianly been a bright spot for the Orioles this season.
9. Paul DeJong (INF)
Among rookies with 50 games played or more, DeJong is behind only Judge and Bellinger in both slugging and OPS. In just 183 at-bats, he already has 14 home runs and 56 hits, showing that he has the bat to stick in the Cardinals infield. Also, DeJong's 25 extra-base hits in his first 46 games put him into a tie for first in franchise history with Albert Pujols. Any time you can be mentioned in the same breadth as a surefire Hall of Famer, you know that you've done something right.
8. Yuli Gurriel (INF)
With names like George Springer, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa on your team, it's pretty easy to get overshadowed. Even Alex Bregman, who was a top prospect in his own right two years ago, garners more hype than Gurriel. And yet, the Cuban native's workman-like numbers have helped make this Astros team into the juggernaut it is. He might be 33 years old, but he is behind only Judge, Bellinger, Bell, and Benintendi in RBIs among rookies. And while he isn't sporting the video game numbers that he had in Cuba, his .283 average is also solid.
7. Ben Gamel (OF)
Gamel has the second-most hits among rookies behind Judge, as well as the third-most runs scored. His 104 hits trails only Judge, and his batting average leads all rookies. He'd be higher on the list if he had any speed to speak of or power, as he has a combined nine home runs and steals in 79 games. Still, he came in handy for the Mariners after fellow rookie Mitch Haniger went down due to an injury following a scorching start to the season, which saw him post a 1.055 OPS in April. Gamel is playing so well that the Mariners are finding creative ways to keep his bat in the lineup.
6. Jacob Faria (SP)
Ah, the first rookie pitcher on the list. The Rays are known for developing pitching prospects, and Faria is the next man up. Right now, the right-hander has only one loss on the season and a 2.93 ERA, all after dominating the Minors earlier this year. He doesn't really strike many batters out, but he uses pinpoint control and seems committed to his craft even after bad outings. That's all you can ask out of a rookie pitcher.
5. Jordan Montgomery (SP)
Montgomery came out of seemingly nowhere. Baseball America had Monty as the 13th-best prospect in the Yankees system last year, and -- even after a rough outing on Sunday -- he has exceeded expectations. The lefty has seven wins and an ERA of 4.15 over 110.2 innings.
4. Kyle Freeland (SP)
When you come *this* close to throwing a no-hitter at Coors Field, people start to pay attention. Freeland is one of the biggest reasons why the Rockies are succeeding this season, as he has helped lead a young pitching staff to better-than-expected results. The hurler has already totaled 3.7 WAR to go with 11 wins and an ERA of 3.71, an impressive feat for any pitcher in Colorado. His WAR mark trails only that of Max Scherzer, Gio Gonzalez, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke among pitchers in the National League, so you know that he's doing something right.
3. Bradley Zimmer (OF)
If you haven't seen what Zimmer has been doing for the Indians, it's probably because he ran right by you. This kind of incredible defense is par for the course for the youngster nowadays. In 65 games, he already has 57 hits, nearly 30 runs scored and 13 steals. He's a speed demon and he's getting on base at a great clip. Over the course of a full season, he's looking like a 15-20 homer/35 steal guy.
2. Josh Bell (1B)
The Pirates' Bell was the top first base prospect in the game last year, one spot ahead of Bellinger. Now? Well, he's already hit 18 homers and is on pace for 25 blasts, 80 runs scored and 90 RBIs. His batting average and OBP are lower than most projected for him, but look for that to change. In July, his average is over .300 and his OBP is hovering near .360. All in all, he's looking a lot like Eric Hosmer has in the past few years.
1. Andrew Benintendi (OF)
In 2016, Benintendi was the No. 5 overall prospect in the game. MLB.com had this to say about him:
"Benintendi is not physically imposing … but he has a quick left-handed swing and deceptive strength, and he projects as a possible .300 hitter with 20 or more homers per year. Benintendi's value goes far beyond his offensive contributions. He has plus speed and good instincts in all phases of the game, making him a viable basestealer and a quality center fielder."
As it currently stands, the outfielder is hitting .262 with a .344 OBP and is on track for nearly 20 homers, 80 runs, 85 RBIs and 15 steals. His defense is far from shabby either. Playing in the middle of the Red Sox's lineup, he has proved that the hype around him was warranted. Consider that those offensive numbers are pretty dang close to what guys like Jose Ramirez and Adam Eaton put up last season. Not bad company for a 23 year old.
Joe Sparacio is an associate producer for Sports on Earth. Follow him on Twitter @joetsparacio.