The National League rookie landscape has been a fun ride in 2012. First and foremost, we received the long-awaited debut of the uber-hyped Bryce Harper. Harper's season consisted of a white hot start, a two-month slump and a white hot finish.
Over in Cincinnati, Todd Frazier took the place of the team's best offensive player in Joey Votto. The 96-win Reds barely even remember that Votto was even injured as Todd Frazier took his place admirably.
Wade Miley usurped the title of staff ace for the Arizona Diamondbacks' pitching staff, as 2011 Cy Young candidate Ian Kennedy had a forgettable 2012 season and Wade had a surprisingly good one.
Names such as Lance Lynn and Yonder Alonso were lurking in the Rookie of the Year conversation at various points this season, but things fizzled for these guys.
A surprisingly under-hyped name in the conversation, however, has been Colorado Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario. It becomes more surprising still when you look at his stats against the other names, because he has had a better season than all of the aforementioned ballplayers.
Let's take a look in black and white.
Bryce Harper: 594 plate appearances, .270 AVG, 22 HR, 59 RBI
Todd Frazier: 463 PA, .274 AVG, 19 HR, 67 RBI
Wade Miley: 194.2 IP, 16-11, 3.33 ERA, 144 K
Wilin Rosario: 418 PA, .273 AVG, 28 HR, 71 RBI
One glance at the stats shows that Wilin is leading all NL rookies in home runs and RBI, but that is not the most astonishing part of his season. Look again at the stats. You will notice that Rosario is leading in both categories, but with less plate appearances than both Harper and Frazier.
Now if Rosario was doing this with say, a .230 average, you could make a case that he isn't as good as Harper and Frazier. His play this season could be written off as that of a young player with raw power, but no ball sight or plate discipline, along the lines of an Ike Davis or Pedro Alvarez type player.
But Wilin is not having that type of season. His average is hanging right in there with his two rivals. In fact, a couple of hits from Wilin and a couple of outs from his two rivals in the two remaining games could put him ahead of them in all three statistical categories.
Unfortunately for Wilin, and the fairness of MLB awards in general, it is my belief that Bryce Harper will receive the NL Rookie of the Year award. He came up to a team that was a perennial stranger to success and that team is now closing in on the best record in baseball. Wilin has played for a team this year that may, without hyperbole, hold the dubious distinction of having the worst pitching staff in baseball history. All Colorado is closing in on is an embarrassingly high pick in the 2013 draft and prayers of an exasperated fan base to sign Kyle Lohse and trade for Cliff Lee.
It is an aggravating idiosyncrasy of the game that awards are more based on your team's success than your individual accomplishments. It is my belief that good teams should win championships and good players should win awards. But alas, it does not happen that way.
In fact, I think it will be the exact same scenario with the National League MVP, with Ryan Braun deserving it but Buster Posey most likely receiving it.
But I will save that argument for my next article.