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MLB Rookie of the Year 2012: Young Stars Not Getting Enough Attention

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MLB Rookie of the Year 2012: Young Stars Not Getting Enough Attention
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

I think we can all agree that Mike Trout took the baseball world by storm in 2012. I mean, how often does any player—let alone a rookie—ever challenge a Triple Crown winner for an MVP award?

Not since at least 1967, obviously. 

While Trout's marveling rookie performance was undoubtedly one of epic proportions, the massive amounts of media coverage that would ensue left a few of baseball's young stars and their own noteworthy rookie campaigns sitting in the dark.

Of course, Bryce Harper's success on the senior circuit gained its fair share of attention, much like his comical interview responses. Yoenis Cespedes and Yu Darvish were often praised for their positive impact on the game as well. 

But what about the others? These were hardly the only first-timers making waves in the majors in 2012. 

Let us now look at a handful of MLB's lesser-known young stars in an effort to help them gain the attention they deserve. 

 

Wilin Rosario, C, Colorado Rockies

Dustin Bradford/Getty Images
Rosario's 28 home runs in 2012 were more than any other catcher in the major leagues.

As a catcher, what Wilin Rosario accomplished at the plate in 2012 was absolutely remarkable. And honestly, how many baseball fans outside of Colorado even know who he is?

During one four-game stretch in September, the 23-year-old rookie racked up 12 hits—three in each game—becoming the first player in Rockies' history to do so. This amazing feat prompted CBS Sports Baseball Insider Jon Heyman to let everyone know Rosario might be the best rookie you're not hearing enough about. 

I concur. 

By all accounts, the Rockies have a budding star on their hands. In less than 400 at-bats (396 to be exact), Rosario smacked 28 home runs and piled up 71 RBI while batting .270 on the year. His 28 HR were more than any other catcher in baseball, and he missed 45 games of the season. 

Just think of how potentially dangerous the Rockies' lineup will be if Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki can stay healthy. 

 

Wade Miley, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Miley led all Diamondbacks' pitchers with 16 wins in 2012.

Moving from the plate to the mound, left-handed starting pitcher Wade Miley is another overlooked rookie destined for a lengthy stay in the big leagues. 

The 25-year-old pitched like a seasoned vet in 2012, finishing with a 16-11 record and an earned run average of 3.33. In 194.2 innings, Miley struck out 144 batters and miraculously walked only 37. His strikeout-to-walk ratio (K/BB) was No. 10 in all of baseball and better than any other rookie pitcher. 

What is perhaps even more impressive was Miley's 18 quality starts. Meaning, in 29 starts in 2012, he pitched six or more innings while allowing three runs or less in 18 of them. Ian Kennedy, another Diamondbacks' pitcher—who won 20 games in 2011—only had 20 quality starts on the year.

While the strikeout totals won't blow you away, there's clearly a lot to like with Miley. Especially considering the lack of experience he brought with him into 2012, carrying only seven career big-league starts under his belt heading into the season.

 

Jarrod Parker, SP, Oakland Athletics

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Parker capped off a brilliant rookie campaign by making two starts in the ALDS against the Tigers.

Jarrod Parker, a 23-year-old righty, was a teammate of Miley's in the Diamondbacks' organization before a mid-December trade with the A's brought him to Oakland. 

13 wins and a 3.47 ERA later, the youngster is now fully entrenched in the starting rotation. 

Parker performed so well over the course of the season, manager Bob Melvin handed him the ball in Game 1 of this year's ALDS against the Tigers. Despite taking the loss, Parker allowed just two earned runs over 6.1 innings and earned the right to toe the slab in a decisive Game 5 as well. 

He was knocked around a bit in his second career postseason start, giving up seven hits and four earned runs in another 6.1 innings. Nonetheless, it was a gutsy effort on one of baseball's biggest stages. 

Whether or not the A's will retain his services for long is another story, but it remains evident the former ninth overall pick in 2007 has a bright baseball career ahead of him. 

 

Todd Frazier, 3B, Cincinnati Reds

Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Frazier is in line to become the Reds' full-time third baseman in 2012.

Have the Reds found themselves a long-term starter to pair with first baseman Joey Votto in the corners of the infield? 

Todd Frazier staked his claim for the gig in 2012. 

The 26-year-old third sacker didn't see much playing time in the early months of the season, but hit over .300 in the months of July and August and tallied a combined 40 RBI in that 55-game span. For the year, Frazier hit 19 HR and 67 RBI while maintaining a respectable .273 average. 

Will it be enough to garner NL Rookie of the Year honors? I wouldn't count on it. Expect Miley's impressive season on the mound to get a solid look, too, although it's probably Harper's award to lose.

Nevertheless, Scott Rolen appears to be on the verge of retirement (per USA Today's Bob Nightengale), leaving an opening at third base in the Reds' infield that Frazier is destined to fill, especially if he can continue to improve his defensive play. 

 

Add Brandon on Twitter: @B_Burnett49er

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