All season long, I have been comparing the success of MLB’s rookie hitters to the greatest first-year masher of all time – Albert Pujols. I have a pretty good idea who I would pick as offensive rookie of the year. But the fact is, there’s no guarantee that a hitter will be chosen. There are some marvelous rookie hurlers as well, and I do not have the metrics in place to gauge their success vs. the position players. So, I’ve turned to fellow Voodoo Sabermetrician TC from Mr. Thursday’s Curious Mechanism, who watches pitchers and knows how to rate them. His NL Rookie of the Year predictions, including my offensive player picks are on his site.
TC and I are doing what we call a simulpost. I will publish the top AL choices, including his recommendtions for pitchers, and he will publish the NL predictions, including my predictions for hitters. We’ll ask you to weigh in in the comment field – which player will it be?
HITTERS, by Extra P
|PLAYER NAME||TEAM||GAMES||AT BATS||RUNS||HITS||2B||3B||HR||RBI||SB||BB||SO||AVG||SLG|
The ROY picture in the AL is much harder to read than the NL, where one candidate really stands above the others. Dustin Pedroia had an absolutely horrible start to the season, at one point hitting under .150 on the season. The Red Sox stuck with him, and boy did he blossom. The little guy is now a crucial piece in the Boston playoff plans.
Delmon Young has suffered through another wasted Devil Rays season, but his team could have legitimate dreams for next year, with all of the emerging talent they can put on the field. If Elijah Dukes had had a little more “bat control”, perhaps there would have been enough behind Dmitri’s younger brother to really make something out of this season. As it stands right now, it’s “wait ’til next year”, but with Delmon’s big bat in the lineup, things are looking up in Tampa. To me, his most amazing stat is the 567 at bats. The dude does not take a night off…
Pedroia and Young have ground out hundreds of at bats from opening day until today, which is pretty impressive. While looking at Young vs. Pedroia, it becomes obvious that Pedroia is benefiting mightily from his luck in playing for a good team with a huge payroll – he has lineup protection, and DY doesn’t. Despite being a power-hitting outfielder, Young has nearly as many runs scored as Pedroia does as a top-of-the order 2B, and packs on some RBIs on top.
It’s a tough choice, but I’m going with Pedroia. And I’m giving him the nod because of his defense. He’s turned 68 double plays with just five errors, and made an absolutely crucial play to preserve Clay Buchholz’s no-hitter a week ago. For pure hitting, Delmon is probably your man, but Pedroia is the whole package.
PITCHERS, by TC of Mr. Thursday’s Curious Mechanism
Ladies and gentlemen, your top four AL Rookie Pitchers…
|Brian Bannister||Kansas City||153.33||39||73||3.46||12|
There’s a lot to argue about with these guys. Okajima’s got the best pure numbers of the bunch. He doesn’t allow home runs, and he strikes out everybody. Plus, he pitches for the best team around, and he doesn’t look when he throws, which is just odd and exciting, which can often generate Rookie of the Year votes. However, fun as he may be, and excellent as he may perform, he’s got less than half the innings of the other three guys. It’s almost impossible for a pitcher with 60 innings to be as valuable as one with 150 or 180.
Among the remainder, Bannister is, superficially, the best. He’s got a fine W-L record (voters love that), and an excellent ERA. Matsuzaka, meanwhile, has a fine, but undazzling 4.44 ERA. He, however, has the best secondary stats of the starters, with an excellent K rate. Guthrie sits somewhere in the middle. His ERA is slightly higher than Bannister’s and better than Matsuzaka’s, but he’s got only a 7-5 record. He’s got a better K-rate than Bannister, and it’s worse than Matsuzka’s. He has the worst home runs allowed of the trio, though he keeps his ERA low by keeping men off base, and getting lucky.
So, the question: do we choose on “results” with Bannister, or “performance” with Matsuzaka, or do we split the difference and take Guthrie? Or do we just cry “Damn the innings!” and take Okajima for his fun delivery and his crazy-good performance?
My choice? I’ll Matsuzaka now, and every fifth day, thanks.
So there you have it – a Beantown Battle. Which Red Sock do you think will pull out the internecine win? Or, if you want to make a case for another entrant, let us know that as well. The comment field is yours for the arguing.
And, please, do yourself a favor and read the NL predictions as well. You’ll be glad you did.