Seriously, though, this is part of my new obsession in screwing up Bill James’ statistical measures. Since I believe that Albert Pujols is the best rookie of the year winner in recent memory, I have now decided to test that theory using my bastardized Similarity Scores concept, which actually allows a player to amass positive points and exceed Prince Albert if he was, indeed, that great.
I compared the 2000 and beyond group last week, and mysteriously forgot to include 2003 AL winner Angel Berroa. OK, it’s no mystery. I’m a Royals fan and I’d rather not think about him, thank you very much. But for the 90s and beyond, I’ll be careful to include any offensive player who made the cut. I don’t do pitchers because I think they’re too hard to really judge, even statistically, and because I like hitters – call me shallow if you must.
The ROY awards have been in effect since 1947 and Jack Robinson, according to the MLB site, so that’s how far back I’ll go. If someone within the past half-century-plus was statistically superior to Mr. Pujols, we’ll find out.
In the 90s, we have these candidates: AL – Carlos Beltran, Nomar Garciaparra, Derek Jeter, Marty Cordova, Bob Hamelin (urgh!), Tim Salmon, Pat Listach, Chuck Knaublauch, and Sandy Alomar Jr. NL – Scott Rolen, Todd Hollandsworth, Raul Mondesi, Mike Piazza, Eric Karros, Jeff Bagwell, and David Justice.
I’m not going to lie to you – I wanted to give this the full treatment and set up tables of relevant stats, but good god is that boring. Way too much typing. Suffice to say I’ll provide a link to each player’s stats on baseball-reference.com, and their score relative to Mr. Pujols.
|Albert Pujols||Saint Louis Cardinals||2001||1000|
|Mike Piazza||Los Angeles Dodgers||1993||951|
|Nomar Garciaparra||Boston Red Sox||1997||937|
|Bob Hamelin||Kansas City Royals||1994||911|
|Tim Salmon||California Angels||1993||901|
|Raul Mondesi||Los Angeles Dodgers||1994||895|
|David Justice||Atlanta Braves||1990||889|
|Carlos Beltran||Kansas City Royals||1999||874|
|Derek Jeter||New York Yankees||1996||871|
|Scott Rolen||Philadelphia Phillies||1997||865|
|Marty Cordova||Minnesota Twins||1995||863|
|Jeff Bagwell||Houston Astros||1991||853|
|Todd Hollandsworth||Los Angeles Dodgers||1996||841|
|Sandy Alomar, Jr.||Cleveland Indians||1990||826|
|Eric Karros||Los Angeles Dodgers||1992||809|
|Pat Listach||Milwaukee Brewers||1992||797|
|Chuck Knoblauch||Minnesota Twins||1991||787|
This kind of stuff is always so interesting. The two most dominant teams of the 1990s, the Yankees and the Braves, had only one offensive ROY apiece throughout the decade. By comparison, the Los Angeles Dodgers had a full four and have somehow continued to define mediocrity. In fact, if you include Hideo Nomo in 1995, the Dodgers actually had a solid five-year run of NL ROY winners, and failed to seal the deal on a championship. Ouch.
One of the truly hilarious names to see here for a Royals fan like myself is that of Bob Hamelin. “The Hammer” was an odd duck – he was huge, wore glasses, and could pound the ball. And yet he never became that player the boys in blue needed him to be. I distinctly remember feeling like he was going to be a great one, and it just didn’t pan out. Of course, Carlos Beltran is exactly as advertised, and the Royals couldn’t afford to keep him. They get you comin’ and goin’ when you love a bad team.
I had forgotten Pat Listach even existed until I wrote this piece.
So, just goes to show you, that being ROY is good for the player, but may mean exactly bupkus for the team that owns his rights. Still, these guys sure were fun to watch, even if they only had that one great season in them.
Yeah, I’m lookin’ at you, Todd Hollandsworth…
Anyway, I’ll be delving into the 80’s next week, so look for great names like Jose Canseco, Chris Sabo, and Ron Kittle.