Ranking the Greatest Single-Game Rookie Performances of the Last 25 World Series

Mike Rosenbaum@GoldenSombreroMLB Prospects Lead WriterOctober 24, 2012

Andruw Jones and John Smoltz: Only one of them looks like a hitter
Andruw Jones and John Smoltz: Only one of them looks like a hitterHarry How/Getty Images

With the World Series scheduled to begin on Wednesday night, I wanted to look at some of the more historic rookie performances before the start of Game 1.

Rather than offering a broad perspective covering the history of the Fall Classic, I wanted to keep the players relevant and therefore focused on only the last 25 years (1987-2012). Additionally, I’ve chosen to examine the impact made by a rookie in a single game as opposed to an entire series.

 

Hitters

For hitters, I narrowed my focus to players 25 years or younger, ranking them by RE24, or how many runs the batter/baserunner added in a specific game where zero is average.

 

Andruw Jones, Atlanta Braves (1998)

Age: 19

1996 Regular Season: 0.1 WAR (31 G)

Game 1 vs. New York Yankees (12-1 W): 3-for-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI; 4.556 RE24

1996 World Series (L): .400/.500/.750, 3 XBH, 6 RBI, 6/3 K/BB (6 G)

 

Ricky Ledee, New York Yankees (1998)

Age: 24

1998 Regular Season: 0.2 WAR (42 G)

Game 1 vs. San Diego Padres (9-6 W): 2-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI, BB; 2.771 RE24

1998 World Series (W): .600/.615/.900, 3 2B, 4 RBI, 2 BB (4 G)

 

Jim Lindeman, St. Louis Cardinals (1987)

Age: 25

1987 Regular Season: -0.8 WAR (75 G)

Game 4 (W 7-2): 2-for-4, 2 RBI, HBP; 2.290 RE24

1987 Postseason vs. Minnesota Twins (L): .333/.375/.400, 3 R, 2 RBI, 3 K (6 G)

 

Chuck Knoblauch, Minnesota Twins (1991)

Age: 22

1991 Regular Season: 2.6 WAR (151 G); Rookie of the Year

Game 1 (5-2 W): 3-for-3, RBI, BB, 2 SB; 2.131 RE24

1991 World Series vs. Braves (W): .308/.387/.346, 3 R, 2 RBI, 4 SB, 4/2 K/BB (7 G)

 

Mitch Moreland, Texas Rangers (2010)

Age: 25

2010 Regular Season: 0.8 WAR (47 G)

Game 3 (4-2 W): 1-for-3, HR, 3 RBI; 2.095 RE24

2010 World Series vs. San Francisco Giants (L): .462/.533/.769, HR, 3 RBI, 4/2 K/BB (5 G)

 

 

Pitchers

For pitchers, I thought that I’d take a look at the best starts by a rookie in a World Series game over the last 25 years, as dictated by their game score. Since pitching prospects typically develop slower than position players due to arm injuries, I considered players as old as age 29 for this list.

 

Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants (2010)

Age: 21

2010 Regular Season: 131 ERA+

Game 4 vs. Texas Rangers (W 4-0): 8 IP, 3 H, ER, 10/2 K/BB

Game Score: 80

 

Anthony Reyes, St. Louis Cardinals (2006)

Age: 25

2006 Regular Season: 88 ERA+

Game 1 vs. Detroit Tigers (W 7-2): 8 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 4/1 K/BB

Game Score: 69

 

Jaret Wright, Cleveland Indians (1997)

Age: 21

1997 Regular Season: 107 ERA+

Game 7 vs. Florida Marlins (L 2-3): 6.1 IP, 2 H, ER, 7/5 K/BB

Game Score: 67

 

John Lackey, Los Angeles Angels (2002)

Age: 24

2002 Regular Season: 121 ERA+

Game 7 vs. San Francisco Giants (W 4-1): 5 IP, 4 H, ER, 4/1 K/BB

Game Score: 58

 

Daisuke Matsuzaka, Boston Red Sox (2007)

Age: 27

2007 Regular Season: 108 ERA+

Game 3 vs. Colorado Rockies (W 10-5): 5.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 5/3 K/BB

Game Score: 56

 

All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference's Play Index Tool.

Related

    Highest-Paid Players in the MLB

    MLB logo
    MLB

    Highest-Paid Players in the MLB

    Kerry Miller
    via Bleacher Report

    The Early-Season Buzz Around Every MLB Team

    MLB logo
    MLB

    The Early-Season Buzz Around Every MLB Team

    Jacob Shafer
    via Bleacher Report

    Kang Granted Work Visa, Will Rejoin Pirates

    MLB logo
    MLB

    Kang Granted Work Visa, Will Rejoin Pirates

    Rob Goldberg
    via Bleacher Report

    Red Sox Officially Renaming 'Yawkey Way'

    MLB logo
    MLB

    Red Sox Officially Renaming 'Yawkey Way'

    Timothy Rapp
    via Bleacher Report