Today I’ll preview the Rookie of the Year Awards, which will be announced later this afternoon. The winners are voted for by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
National League: While the AL voting will be a landslide, things are closer and more interesting in the National League, where the candidates include the popular Bryce Harper from Washington, Cincinnati’s Todd Frazier and Arizona left-hander Wade Miley.
Harper was one of the most hyped rookies in history (on the cover of Sports Illustrated at 16), and to his credit lived up to the billing. He’s also the combination of power, speed and hustle.
Because of injuries to Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth, Harper became a cog in the Nationals’ lineup ahead of schedule.
Frazier also surged in importance to the Reds because of an injury to Joey Votto.
The numerical arguments are basically even between Frazier and Harper:
* Harper: .270 average, .340 on-base percentage, .477 slugging percentage, 22 home runs, 59 RBIs, 18 stolen bases in 139 games.
* Frazier: .273 average, .331 on-base percentage, .498 slugging percentage, 19 home runs, 67 RBIs, 3 SB in 128 games.
It is extremely difficult to compare position players to pitchers, but Miley made a compelling argument with his stats:
* Miley: 16-11, 3.33 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 37 walks, 144 strikeouts in 194 2/3 innings over 32 appearances (29 starts).
It’s interesting that Miley threw close to 200 innings while Harper’s teammate, Stephen Strasburg was shut down, a decision that might have kept Washington from reaching the NLCS. You never know.
American League: The Angels’ Mike Trout had arguably one of the best rookie seasons in history and there’s nobody a close second in the American League. And, if not for Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, we’d also be talking MVP.
Trout is the rare combination of power, speed and energy – a five-tool player at 21, drawing comparisons to Mickey Mantle, Rickey Henderson and Ken Griffey Jr. It will be interesting to see how he deals with the weights of repeating and comparison.
Opponents talk about his passion and skills, and his staggering numbers support the words. Trout hit .326 (four points behind Cabrera) with .399 on-base and .564 slugging percentages and a .963 OPS.
He also led the Major Leagues in runs scored (129) and steals (49).
Trout was also productive on the defensive end when it came to saving runs, reminding Angels’ fans of former center fielder Jim Edmonds.
Making his season all the more remarkable is he didn’t come up until April 28, missing the first month because of a respiratory ailment in spring training which forced him to open in the minor leagues.