BRIGHT SPOTS IN PITTSBURGH.
It wasn't a good year for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but rookies Kevin Newman and Bryan Reynolds batted better than .300 at the top of the batting order. How often do teams have two rookies who qualify for the batting title and hit .300? It would also be interesting to know if any of those rookies have batted first and second on their teams.
Rookie outfielder Reynolds finished at .314 and rookie shortstop Newman hit .308, good for seventh and eighth place in the National League batting race. It marks only the second time, since MLB first established a rookie qualification rule in 1958, that rookie teammates have qualified for the league batting crown and batted .300. The other pair was Fred Lynn (.331) and Jim Rice (.309) for the 1975 Boston Red Sox.
This season Reynolds and Newman combined for 28 homers with the Pirates, each far surpassing his single-season high as a pro, and down the stretch, they held down the top two spots in Pittsburgh's batting order. After reviewing what are considered many of the game's best rookie seasons in MLB history, as far as we can tell, hitting .300 as batting title qualifiers AND holding down the top two spots in a big-league lineup is a claim that no two rookie teammates can make. Unprecedented or not, Reynolds and Newman shined in a disappointing season in Pittsburgh.