Being a rookie at the Major League level is hard. Not only as you subject to much mockery and derision, responsible for daily/weekly/constant barbs and subservient behavours, you’re also pretty crappy at your job as a rule. Adjusting to pitching from the best pitchers in the world ain’t easy and takes time.
The American League rookie class is shaping up decently, with potential impact players at several positions and young guys making the most of their opportunities. Who comes home with the hardware? Let’s handicap the contenders.
Glossy counting stats – Mark Trumbo and Alexi Ogando
Trumbo leads all rookies with 22 home runs and 63 RBIs, owing a lot to his 400 plate appearances on the season. Serving as the Angels everyday first baseman gives him an edge when it comes to piling up numbers, though his patience leaves a great deal to be desired. Having a steady job will no doubt boost his profile among the voting types.
Ogando piles up the wins and puts in quality outings despite less-than-stellar strikeout numbers. Surviving as a fly ball pitcher in Texas takes some doing yet here is Ogando, with 131 innings to his name this year and just 11 home runs allowed. Control is the key – Ogando walks just 6% of the batters he faces. Let’s install him as the early favorite.
Doing One Thing Well – J.P Arencibia and Michael Pineda.
J.P. Arencibia is a power hitter with more patience than appearances suggest. His walk rate is above average but his on base and batting average are quite grim. He does get bonus points for having more home runs than doubles. That takes work.
Michael Pineda is a very good pitcher, one, it says here, who will have a better career than Alexei Oganda. But Pineda plays for the Mariners so he never wins so he just might be out of luck. More a true rookie (Oganda received significant exposure as a reliever during the Rangers run to the World Series) he might capture some votes from the more statistically-inclined voter as his strikeout to walk numbers (133-43) match up favorably to guys like Justin Verlander and Brandon Morrow, not just other rookies.
Full Tool Belt in Limited Exposure – Josh Reddick and Dustin Ackley
Both Ackley and Reddick seem to be the real deal and also lead all rookies in WAR. Reddick is hitting like a madman – probably over his head – and plays some mean left field. Ackley is the best hitter on the Mariners and defying expectations with strong play at second base.
Unfortunately for these two hopefuls, their call-ups came late enough in the season that they’ll really have to go crazy to wrestle the award from somebody with a full-time job for the bulk of the season. Though, if they get close to 100 games played, they might have a shot.
Somebody has to do it – Jordan Walden.
He’s the closer! Look at all those saves (25)! Walden is great at his job and will surely steal some votes away but, c’mon, 50 innings total? That ain’t right. Walden deserves credit for doing his job exceedingly well but his job isn’t nearly as hard as Pineda or Ogando’s.
I’m going to throw my support behind Dustin Ackley. If he keeps putting up the numbers (not a guarantee), he will do enough to win the award. If Ackley slumps and Brett Lawrie remains ineligible, give the award to
Ogando Jordan Walden. Sigh.