NL Rookie of the Year Race is Crowded

With about three weeks left there are a TON of good looking rookies in the NL. For awhile I thought it was Jaime Garcia, then Buster Posey took a slight lead, then Gaby Sanchez, and now Jason Heyward is remaking his case for the ROY award with a hot streak. What I’ve found most interesting about the NL ROY race is that guys like Mike Stanton have 20 homers, Tyler Colvin has 19 homers, Ike Davis has 18 homers, Neil Walker has a .306 average, John Axeford has 21 saves, Stephen Strasberg was insanely good for a bit, and none of these guys are going to be considered for the award. It’s has been an insane year for the youth in the NL, and will probably be just like the NL West race coming down to who has the best final weeks of the season. I’m going to take a look at the top five candidates, and try to figure out which one is the best choice. I’m already leaning towards Heyward during his resurgence, and being in the big leagues all year helps his case. Gaby Sanchez is so underrated that I feel like I should almost just pick him for shock value, but I just can’t do it. Here’s my thoughts on the top five candidates in no particular order. I heavily weighted one thing in my list, and that was the word YEAR, as in playing a complete season.

Let’s start with my least likely to win candidate, Starlin Castro. The Cubs haven’t been anything worth watching this season, but they do have a great shortstop of the future in Castro. He was called up on May 7th, and hasn’t looked back hitting in his first game as a Cub, and he continued to hit throughout his first big league stint. He’s fourth in the entire NL (not only rookies) in batting, with a .312 average. He’s also had the most hits and doubles for any player in all of baseball since he was called up. If the Cubs were relevant, we’d be hearing a lot more about this kid.

From the least likely candidate to win to my current favorite for the award, Jason Heyward. He was a starter opening day with more hype than anyone I’ve seen since A-Rod made his debut. I guess you could throw Strasburg in that conversation on the hype machine, but Heyward was hyped much more over the preseason, because everyone knew he’d be on the opening day roster. After a quick start, and being named rookie of the month for April and May, he struggled and came back to earth slightly. Since August 21st though, he’s been tearing the cover off the ball to the tune of .437 BA. He’s also raised his batting average with runners in scoring position to .324 on the season. Showing that he can hit when it matters is a stat I lean on for these kinds of picks. It’s not an easy choice, but I’m taking Heyward at this point because he’s been getting it done for longer. He’s also a great defender with a good arm, so you can’t knock him on the defensive side, he’s a true five tool player.

Buster Posey is waay better than I thought he’d be. I might just be a semi-Giants hater (maybe because I’m jealous of their prospects), but that’s what happens when you root for the other side of the bay growing up. I’m still having trouble figuring out what kept this kid from being in the big leagues opening day, but maybe he needed to work on his catching defense/game calling abilities. The biggest knock on Posey isn’t his production, but how long he’s been in the majors. He has the highest batting average of these offensive rookies at (.321). He’s slugging a ridiculous (.504), and has the longest hitting streak in the entire NL at 21 games. He plays the toughest position on the field, and has lifted a lineup that was offensively challenged. He made the whole team more confident. I’m sure I’d be handing him the award if the Giants had called him up in April instead of late May.

Gaby Sanchez is easily the most overlooked player in this race. He has been tearing it up all year, and unless your into fantasy sports you might not even have heard about him that much. Just like Heyward, he’s been in the bigs since opening day. All he’s done is lead all rookies in hits (141), doubles (35), and RBI’s (76). Is he a great first baseman? No, not that I’ve seen. Is he coming through in the clutch, and keeping the Marlins watchable in a not so impressive season? Yes. Can he be the Marlins fourth ROY in barely over a decade of existence?!? I don’t think he will, mainly because he’s a little too far off people’s radars, but his numbers should be taken into consideration. He should be on everyone’s radar after his epic close line of Niger Morgan. I think that closeline alone made me a bigger fan of his, and bumped him over Posey in my rankings.

Jaime Garcia is the only pitcher to make my list, and is probably the hardest out of any of these candidates to compare to the others. He is an interesting wild card in this ROY race. It’s impossible to compare pitchers to hitters, which is why I think he has a great shot at stealing away votes and winning this award, because it’s much easier to justify voting for him. Your reasoning doesn’t need to be as concrete on why you picked him over the hitters because it’s subjective. He’s been in the rotation since opening day (puts him in the top three), and has dominated the NL with the sixth best ERA (2.70). Garcia hasn’t been as dominant since the All-Star break with a 3.75 ERA opposed to 1.74 ERA pre-break, so hopefully it’s just tough opponents and not a sign he’s wearing down in this stellar rookie campaign. Side thought, if you were Albert Pujols surrounded by aces on the pitching staff, would you want to resign there if you still weren’t winning? It’s just something I’ve been questioning lately on whether we’ll see Pujols in another uniform anytime soon.

As it stands right now, my NL ROY list looks like (1) Jason Heyward, (2) Gaby Sanchez, (3) Jaime Garcia, (4) Buster Posey, and (5) Starlin Castro.

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About chappy81

I'm a dude that just hit 30 years old. Pretty much like everything that is funny, insightful, and has to do with the Warriors, A's, and Raiders. View all posts by chappy81

18 responses to “NL Rookie of the Year Race is Crowded

  • classic17

    I think I’d put Jaime ahead of Sanchez right now, but we just shut him down for the rest of the year. Either way, 13-8 with a 2.70 ERA may be enough to keep him here. I think Heyward will win in what looks like a landslide but should be closer than it appears.

    Jaime gets another point for being extremely helpful when I need a Spanish translator.

  • Chris Humpherys

    Too bad Chapman didn’t get enough appearances… or Strasburg blew out his arm.

  • tophatal

    chappy

    Of all the postseason prizes that are up for grabs with the exception of World Series itself this might be the most difficult to actually pick a winner from in terms of the candidates. Each of the ones mentioned in your piece all have a warranted basis for a nomination and win.

    So it could well come down to which of them ends being on winning team that’s in the postseason . That could very well be the determining factor as far as these dumb ass writers see it .

    tophatal ……………. 🙂 * 🙂 * 🙂

    • Chappy81

      Yeah, there’s going to be a lot of arguments for and against each of them, but when it comes down to it, I think the guys that have been playing all year should have the first crack at it., so I’m sticking with Heyward and Gaby!

      • tophatal

        chappy

        No matter what the outcome I think that these guys have had a tremendous season each in their own way. I can’t remember when there’ve been so many rookies that have contributed to the success of their teams in such a way .

        tophatal ……… 🙂

  • charlie jr.

    I am a big time baseball fan and i have been following it all year.so they say the rookie of the year goes to the best rookie so you have to give it to jason heywood becase he have helped carry his team and no dout if they make the playoffs it was because he was lifting the team up when they needed.he fell in slumps a time or to but know when its really mattering he is coming threw.GO BRAVES.

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  • kevinn

    wheres ike davis?? n heywards terrible n there should b another rookie of the year for pitchers

  • charlotte baseball

    This is a really good read for me, Must admit that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw.Thanks for posting this informative article. Big thanks for the useful info i found.That ROY trophy is beautiful

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  • Matthew Sims

    Im from Atlanta so its obvious i want heyward to win. Even though he doesnt have the best hitting numbers he is by far the best defensive player of the bunch. He is much in the clutch and i think he deserves it over the rest.

  • Andres Uribe

    Well all of you are baseball morons! Buster Posey plays the most important position in baseball and has been a stud since taking over the everyday catching position. He lead the Giants staff during their history making run of 18 straight games of giving three runs or less. He throws out potential base runners at about the 40% rate, which is the rate that top catchers want to be. Oh yeah, he is also batting clean up and has completely changed the dynamic of the Giants offense.

    The arguments that Buster has not played the whole season is completely laughable. It’s what his done since been called up that makes his candidacy so impressive. Heyward is solid and bound to be a superstar, but he has more errors than assists playing right field which is not even the most important outfield position.

    Heyward: BA HR RBI OBP SLG
    .277 18 72 .393 .456

    Posey: BA HR RBI OBP SLG
    .305 18 67 .357 .505

    Buster did this in 100 less ab’s than Heyward. Projecting 100 more ab’s for Buster would put him past Heyward in dingers and Rbis. So this to me is a no brainier.

    Oh and lets not forget playoff performance. I know it does not factor in but .375 avg for buster in first playoff as a Rookie?!?!?!?! That is sick.

    • chappy81

      In fairness, I wrote this with almost a month left in the season. Heyward kinda limped into the finish line, so my vote might’ve changed by the end of the season. In the playoffs it looks like your right, but you can’t really count the playoffs… I see your argument though, and it’s a solid one, Posey did have the better last five months. Thanks for stopping by!

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