Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Myers, Fernandez top this year's rookie crop

At the conclusion of every season, the members of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA) are asked to submit their ballots for the top awards across baseball. Each of these awards is named in honor of a player that epitomized the role in Major League Baseball. Over the next couple of weeks, I will release my ballots for each award and I will post the official announcements from the BBA with the combined votes of all member blogs.

Here is the list of awards that have been announced and the others that will be announced in the coming days:
Willie Mays Award for Top Rookie
American League
1. Wil Myers- RF - Tampa Bay Rays
.293/.354/.478, 13 HR, 53 RBI, 23 2B, 50 R
This year's rookie crop doesn't have quite the bite as last year's Trout/Darvish/Cespedes combination. The Rays left Myers down in the minor leagues for as long as possible but he was still able to come up and make a huge impact in the AL playoff race. Tampa Bay was a .500 club when Myers joined the fold and they would go on to force a Game 163. Myers almost became the first player to lead AL rookies in HR and RBI without playing in 90 games. Oswaldo Arcia of the Twins had 14 home runs and this kept Myers from achieving this feat.

2. Jose Iglesias - SS/3B - Detroit Tigers/Boston Red Sox
.303/.349/.386, 3 HR, 29 RBI, 16 2B, 39 R
It's not very often that a candidate for the rookie of the year award is traded from one contending team to another contending team in the middle of the season. That's exactly what happened with Iglesias this season and he was still able to finish the year hitting over .300 with adequate defense at shortstop. It will be interesting to see if the Tigers and Red Sox face off in October with Iglesias now wearing Detroit's colors.

3. Chris Archer- RHP - Tampa Bay Rays
9-7 record, 3.22 ERA, 1.127 WHIP, 128.2 IP, 101 SO, 38 BB
The Rays seem to have a rookie pitcher in the running for AL Rookie of the Year every season. Getting the most out of their young talent is one way this franchise has been so successful in recent years. Archer's numbers weren't fantastic but there weren't a ton of candidates in the AL. He probably wouldn't have finished in the top 10 for this award in the National League.

National League
1. Jose Fernandez- RHP - Miami Marlins
12-6 record, 2.19 ERA, 172.2 IP, 0.979 WHIP, 187 SO, 58 BB
It is going to be a tight race between Fernandez and Puig but Fernandez had arguably the best rookie season for a pitcher in history. Unfortunately, he had to pitch in Miami for a dreadful team. There were many questioning whether the Marlins should have him on their roster this season when he was a year removed from his teens. He proved all doubters wrong and looked like a force to be reckoned with in the years to come.

2. Yasiel Puig - RF - Los Angeles Dodgers
.319/.391/.534, 19 HR, 42 RBI, 21 2B, 66 R
Puig-Mania hit Los Angeles this season and the Dodgers fans were happy it did. The young Cuban outfielder put on a show with his bat and with his arm as he lit a fire under a struggling club. He continued to perform well even when pressure started to get put on him. Plenty of other things went right in LA but Puig helped to push the Dodgers towards the playoffs.

3. Julio Teheran- RHP - Atlanta Braves
14-8 record, 3.20 ERA, 185.2 IP, 1.174 WHIP, 170 SO, 45 BB
Teheran is one of about 10 players that could have completed this list. Hyun-Jin Ryu, AJ Pollock, Gerrit Cole, and Shelby Miller were just a few of the other names that could finish behind Puig and Fernandez. Teheran gets the vote because the Braves had to deal with some key injuries in their staff and Teheran continued to perform despite the adversity.

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