Do we even need to discuss this? Here are the stats, with rankings among AL rookies: .326 avg. (1st), .399 OBP (1st), .564 SLG (1st), .963 OPS (1st), 129 runs (1st – by 59 over 2nd!), 30 HR (1st), 83 RBI (1st – while batting leadoff!), 49 stolen bases (1st – more than double anyone else!). First rookie in the history of baseball to have a 30/30 season. Mike Trout has no competition for this award. But, let’s also be sure we give credit to some other excellent AL rookies: Yoenis Cespedes (.292, 22 HR, 82 RBI, .861 OPS, 16 SB); Yu Darvish (16-9, 3.90 ERA, 221 K’s); Addison Reed (29 saves, in spite of a 4.75 ERA); Jarrod Parker (13-8, 3.47 ERA, 140 K’s).
My AL ROY ballot would be: 1. Mike Trout, 2. Yoenis Cespedes, 3. Yu Darvish.
This is a much more difficult decision than the AL. You have 5 candidates with an OPS over .800, 5 that hit 15 or more HR, 3 with 60+ RBI, 1 with 30 SB, 4 that bat over .280 … and that’s just on the offensive side of the ball, because you also had a starter that won 16 games. And, to make matters worse, there’s no consistency among the leaders. They’re all over the board – they might lead one category, but are 7th in another. Plus, how much stock do you put in Wilin Rosario‘s stats? Does it matter that his batting average was 55 points higher in Denver? Or that his OPS was 235 points higher at home? Honestly, I think he’s the first obvious one to eliminate from serious contention, because his batting stats in Colorado were nearly double what they were on the road. Anthony Rizzo (.285, 15 HR, 48 RBI, .805 OPS) is next to be eliminated, because he didn’t really play enough of the season as a starter (just 87 games) to accumulate the numbers some of the others did. Matt Carpenter (.294, 6 HR, 46 RBI, .828 OPS) was solid offensively, but left a lot to be desired defensively. Plus, his power numbers aren’t flashy.
This leaves us with what I believe to be the top 3 candidates. Bryce Harper, Todd Frazier, and Wade Miley. Frazier has a slight edge over Harper in OPS (.829 to .817), batting average (.273 to .270), and RBI (67 to 59). But, Harper has the edge in HR (22 to 19), stolen bases (18 to 3), and a significant lead in runs scored (98 to 55). Harper also has a sizeable lead in WAR (4.9 to 2.8), and was clearly the better defender of the two. So, while many of my posts regarding Rookie of the Year leaned toward Frazier, it looks as though Harper ended up having the better year. But, the big question is, was it better than Wade Miley’s? I find this to be nearly an impossible comparison. The one stat pitchers and batters share is WAR, and I’m not sure it is calculated equally for the two. But, Harper does have a slightly better WAR (4.9 to 4.8). And, honestly, a guy that’s going to bat near the top of your lineup, steal bases, drive in runs, and play an impressive outfield (most often CF), to me is slightly more impressive than a starter who wins 16 games in the NL West where you’re facing a lot of mediocre offenses in large ballparks.
So, my NL ballot would be: 1. Bryce Harper, 2. Wade Miley, 3. Todd Frazier.
That’s my list, how about yours? Take the poll below!