MLB Rookies Who Proved They're Here to Stay in the League Championship Series
After a lopsided win in Game 7 of the NLCS, the Giants will take on the Detroit Tigers in the World Series beginning on Wednesday night. Trailing the St. Louis Cardinals, 3-1, in the series, the Giants rallied to win three consecutive games to advance to the Fall Classic for the second time in three years.
With the Cardinals elimination, we unfortunately say goodbye to a few highly impressive and exciting rookies in Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal, Joe Kelly and Pete Kozma. However, many of them—including the Tigers’ talented rookies—have seemingly warranted a spot on the 2013 Opening-Day roster.
Here’s a look at four outstanding rookies from the League Champion Series who should become well-known names in 2013.
Shelby Miller, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
Miller had an absolutely brutal first half of the season at Triple-A, and it seemed as though he may be traded in late July. However, the 22-year-old right-hander made a slight adjustment to his mechanics and better utilized his secondary pitches following the All-Star break and was ultimately called up in September.
Overall, Miller registered a 1.32 ERA and 16/4 K/BB in 13.2 innings and was especially impressive in his lone start on the final day of the regular season. In that game, he carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and fanned seven batters.
Despite his reputation as the organization’s top pitching prospect, he’ll seemingly battle for either one or two rotation spots with Trevor Rosenthal and Joe Kelly.
Avisail Garcia, OF, Detroit Tigers
Beginning the season at High-A, Garcia ultimately reached the major leagues and played in 23 games for the Tigers over the final month of the season. The 6’4” outfielder exceeded all expectations at the plate, batting .319 in 47 regular-season at-bats.
The 21-year-old has been especially impressive this postseason, as he played a crucial role in sweeping the Yankees in the ALCS by batting .455/.455/.545 with three RBI over four games. Considering his performance relative to the Tigers’ success since his debuting, Garcia should serve as at least a platoon outfielder to open the 2013 season.
Trevor Rosenthal, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
The 22-year-old right-hander pitched well in two stints for the Cardinals this season, posting a 2.78 ERA, 5.6 H/9, 9.9 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 22.2 innings. Rosenthal also closed out the season with seven consecutive scoreless outings.
His successful final month carried over into the postseason, as he allowed a pair of hits and walks with 15 strikeouts in 8.2 scoreless innings. Exactly how stellar was Rosenthal this October? Well, 101 of the 142 pitches he threw were strikes (71 percent); 30.7 percent looking and 21.9 percent were swinging strikes.
In his final two postseason outings, the hard-throwing right-hander fanned four batters over two innings. Overall, Rosenthal struck out 15 of the 30 batters he faced.
As I mentioned in my profile of him on Monday, Rosenthal, like Miller, will receive consideration for the 2013 starting rotation. It’ll be interesting to see how the organization handles his development given the overwhelming success this year out of the bullpen, but he should be on the Opening-Day roster either way.
Drew Smyly, LHP, Detroit Tigers
After breaking spring training as the fifth starter in the Tigers’ rotation, Smyly served as a swingman throughout the season; he started when necessary, pitched in relief and spent time in Triple-A. The 23-year-old southpaw ultimately posted a 3.99 ERA, 8.5 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 99.1 innings over 23 games—18 of which were starts.
He’s appeared in just two games this postseason, both against the Yankees in the ALCS, but recorded one of the Tigers’ wins while throwing 2.1 scoreless innings. In an otherwise right-handed starting rotation, Smyly offers a young, left-handed option to supplement the Justin Verlander-Max Scherzer-Doug Fister three-headed monster.