Sunday, December 5

MLB’s strong rookie class means the NL and NL rookie races of the year are still open

The MLB rookie crop is strong this year. Not epic, but solid. Remember the 2018 NL Rookie of the Year race, when Ronald Acuña Jr. beat Juan Soto and Walker Buehler? Somebody?

Yes. Crazy. This year is not like that, but we have seen the arrival of several players who are going to have an impact in the big leagues for a long time.

Let’s take a look at the leaders in each league heading into the final weeks of the season. Both races are up for grabs.

MORE: Why doesn’t anyone believe in the Giants?

American League Rookie of the Year contenders

Randy Arozarena, Rayos

Note numbers: 19 HR, 62 RBI, 13 SB, 133 OPS +, 3.4 bWAR

Why are you here: Arozarena’s performance last October was legendary. He tripled in the Rays’ first playoff game, hit two doubles in the second and homered in the team’s third, fourth and fifth playoff games last year. And the thing is, it never really stopped. The Rays made it through Game 6 of the World Series, and in those 20 games Arozarena hit 10 home runs with a .377 average and a 1,273 OPS.

So yeah, it feels strange to think that a guy who acted like a fearless October veteran is still eligible for the Rookie of the Year award. His 2021 season hasn’t been a repeat of that incredible month last fall, and there have been ups and downs. But he had an excellent August that pushed him to the top of the ROY conversation, hitting .362 with a 1.081 OPS, and he has the best bWAR on the team with the best record in the American League.

Adolis Garcia, Rangers

Note numbers: 29 HR, 78 RBI, 109 OPS +, 3.4 bWAR

Why are you here: It won’t be too exciting for Cardinals fans to see former Cardinals prospects finish 1-2 in the AL rookie run. However, at least Arozarena was traded. St. Louis designated Garcia for assignment and the Rangers picked him up for some cash. I’m not sure how much cash, but it’s safe to say it was less than the current rate for most sluggers who have 29 home runs with a couple of weeks left in the season.

Garcia caught fire in May, hitting 11 home runs to complete 27 RBIs, a .333 average and a 1.098 OPS over a 22-game stretch. The average has dropped since then, he’s hitting .224 since June 1, but Garcia has still been a reliable source of power, 13 home runs in that same time frame, in a lineup that needs a lot of dependable power, especially with Joey Gallo. . now playing in New York.

Luis Garcia, Astros

Note numbers: 3.29 ERA, 134 IP, 10.4 K / 9, 2.6 bWAR

Why are you here: The Astros had a dilemma in late May. A good dilemma. They had too many good starting pitchers. The guy who was eliminated from the rotation, Cristian Javier, had a 3.14 ERA with 58 strikeouts in 48 2/3 innings in nine starts. Add those nine starts in 2021 to the 10 he made as a rookie in 2020, and Javier had a 3.42 ERA for his career with a 9.5 K / 9 ratio. And yes, he got beaten by Luis Garcia. That’s what the Astros think of his talent.

And it is delivered. He has made 21 starts since early May and has allowed zero, one or two earned runs 13 times. He has allowed more than four runs just twice.

“He was masterful,” said the Astros manager. Dusty Baker said after a start in late August, during which he shut out the Royals for 6 2/3 innings.

That has been a common theme. It will be interesting how much the Astros will use it down the stretch. He has pitched 134 innings, easily a professional record for the 24-year-old, and it is quite possible that Houston will limit his innings, perhaps hampering his chances of winning the award? – to keep him in the postseason, which is a more important goal.

Others: Look, Frank wandering He didn’t make his debut until the end of June, but he currently has a 36-game on-base streak, tying Mickey Mantle for second all-time among players 20 and under, and if he continues like this, he could catch his Rays. teammate, Arozarena, and pass everyone else as well. Ryan mountcastle He continued his stellar streak in 2020 with a frigid start in 2021 for Baltimore, but he recovered well and has 25 home runs and an .810 OPS. The Tigers are going to be really good, real quick, folks: Rule 5 pickup Akil Baddoo has 12 home runs, 14 stolen bases and a .787 OPS, former No. 1 overall pick Casey mize has a 3.51 ERA in 26 starts and catcher Eric Haase – His promotion might be even more unlikely than Baddoo’s – He has 20 home runs as a rookie. From Cleveland Emmanuel Class he’s a soft-pitch closer with a triple-digit fastball and a 1.51 ERA with 21 saves (in 25 chances) this year.

NL Rookie of the Year contenders

Jonathan India, Reds

Note numbers: 18 HR, 9 SB, .377 OBP, 3.2 bWAR

Why are you here: The No. 5 overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, India won the starting spot at second base in spring training, and looked like a future Hall of Famer coming out the door; In his first six games, he had 10 RBIs, hitting .476 with a 1.099 OPS. Then the bottom fell for a period, as he hit just .109 in his next 10 games, and was still advancing with a .230 average and .683 OPS through the end of May.

But he hit .303 with a .425 on-base percentage in June and followed with a .319 / .470 performance in July. So yeah, it’s not surprising that those are the two months the Reds ditched their ways below .500 and got back into the thick of the NL wild-card race.

Trevor Rogers, Marlins

Note numbers: 2.52 ERA, 21 GS, 10.4 K / 9, 3.3 bWAR

Why are you here: Rogers has made 21 starts this season and has yet to allow more than three runs in any start. He has allowed more than six hits in a start just once, but has struck out at least six in 15 of those 21 starts. His ERA did not exceed 2.00 to stay until mid-June. So why isn’t he the leader right now? He spent most of August in IL, coming back to make a start on September 4 that was good but not great: 4 1/3 innings, six hits, two earned runs, and India has been really good at the top of the league. Reds lineup at that very moment. lapse.

Patrick Wisdom, Cubs

Note numbers: 25 HR, .848 OPS, 1.9 bWAR

Why are you here: Wisdom is not like other rookies on this list. For starters, he is 30 years old. And this is the fourth different season Wisdom has appeared in the majors, but he only had 88 plate appearances in total in those years: 58 with the Cardinals in 2018, 28 with the Rangers in 2019, and two with the Cubs. in 2021. But he qualifies, he’s below the minimum in at-bats and days on the roster, and he’s been the biggest bright spot of the season for the Cubs.

Among players with at least 300 plate appearances this year, Wisdom ranks fourth in the fewest at-bats per home run: Fernando Tatis Jr. and Mike Zunino record at 10.4, Shohei Ohtani at 10.8 and Wisdom at 11.2. . That’s quite a select company: the likely AL MVP, the likely NL MVP, and an All-Star catcher.

Others: There is an external possibility that Ian Anderson He could put in an effort with a stellar September for Atlanta, but he spent a lot of time at IL and his ERA, while solid at 3.61 in 20 starts, still trails Rogers with a similar number of starts. Dylan carlson he’s been solid in the top half of the Cardinals’ lineup this year, hitting .342 on-base percentage, 13 home runs and 2.1 bWAR. Marlins Middle Infielder Jazz Chisholm it is electric when healthy; he has 14 home runs, 18 stolen bases and 1.9 bWAR.

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