This week hasn’t been easy for rookie pitchers.
Shelby Miller had been cruising after receiving extra rest surrounding the All-Star break. However, the right-hander encountered some terrible luck during his start against the Dodgers on Wednesday, as the second pitch of the game was lined off his right elbow.
A few hours later, Chris Archer, the AL Rookie and Pitcher of the Month for July, lasted only 1.2 innings in his start against the Giants after he was forced to leave the game with right forearm tightness.
Neither injury appears to be serious, thankfully, as both right-handers will avoid a trip to the disabled list and remain on schedule to make their next starts.
Here’s an updated look at the stock movement of baseball’s top Rookie of the Year candidates.
1. Jose Fernandez, RHP, Miami Marlins
2013 Stats: 8-5, 132.2 IP, 2.58 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, .193 BAA, 143/47 K/BB (22 GS)
After striking out 13 and 14 batters in back-to-back starts, respectively, Fernandez wasn’t as effective in his outing against the Pirates on Thursday. But given his recent dominance, anything other than another double-digit strikeout performance was bound to disappoint.
Squaring off against fellow rookie right-hander Gerrit Cole, Fernandez allowed two earned runs on five hits with five strikeouts over five innings but also matched his career high with four walks. Compared to his previous starts, the 21-year-old’s command was off as he needed 101 pitches (61 strikes) to complete the outing.
Fernandez’s next start will come on Tuesday on the road against Kansas City.
2. Yasiel Puig, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
2013 Stats: .377/.437/.600, 43 R, 25 XBH (11 HR), 7 SB, 58/19 K/BB (57 G)
Stock: Holding steady
Following his arrival on June 3, Puig took baseball by storm by batting .436/.467/.713 with 44 hits and seven home runs over his next 26 games, and was subsequently recognized with NL Player of the Month honors.
Puig ultimately cooled off in July, though it can at least be partially attributed to the bruised left hip he sustained while crashing into the right field wall. Overall, the 22-year-old posted a disappointing .789 OPS in July with 31 strikeouts in 24 games.
Seemingly compensating for the previous month, Puig has opened August on fire with a seven-game hitting streak during which he’s batted .480 with seven runs scored, 12 hits (four extra-base hits) and a 7/7 K/BB ratio.
Similar to Wil Myers’ impact on the Tampa Bay Rays, Puig has been the driving force behind the Dodgers’ success this season. In the 57 games in which he’s played, the team owns a 39-18 record.
3. Julio Teheran, RHP, Atlanta Braves
2013 Stats: 9-5, 137 IP, 2.96 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, .254 BAA, 121/30 K/BB (22 GS)
Teheran forced his way into the Braves’ Opening Day rotation with an outstanding showing during spring training but struggled to the tune of a 5.08 ERA through the first month of the season.
Since then, however, the right-hander has been one of the more consistent pitchers in the National League. Since the beginning of May, Teheran, 22, has registered a 2.40 ERA and 101/22 K/BB ratio in 108.2 innings. He’s also logged at least six innings in 14 of 17 starts during that span. As the Braves continue to run away with the National League East title, expect them to offer the rookie hurler additional rest over the next two months in anticipation of the playoffs.
4. Hyun-Jin Ryu, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
2013 Stats: 11-3, 141.1 IP, 2.99 ERA, .125 WHIP, .252 BAA, 118/42 K/BB (22 GS)
Although he doesn’t have the stuff or youth of a Jose Fernandez, Shelby Miller or Julio Teheran, Ryu has quietly emerged as one of the more consistent mid-rotation starters in the NL this season. The 26-year-old left-hander has failed to complete six innings just four times this season, and has now recorded a quality start in 16 of 22 outings.
Ryu was sharp once again against the Cardinals on Thursday, allowing one unearned run on five hits and no walks with seven strikeouts in seven innings. The southpaw has been cruising over his past six starts, going 5-0 with a 3.47 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 36.1 innings.
And while he’s struggled away from Dodger Stadium this season (4.09 ERA in 72.2 innings), Ryu has now pitched well in back-to-back road starts with a 1.46 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 12.1 innings.
5. Shelby Miller, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
2013 Stats: 11-7, 121.1 IP, 2.89 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, .227 BAA, 132/35 K/BB (22 GS)
Miller was one of baseball’s top pitchers over the first two months of the season, registering a 2.02 ERA and 0.98 WHIP with a 65/16 K/BB ratio over 62.1 innings. However, the rookie right-hander hit a rough patch as the calendar page turned from June to July, allowing more earned runs (15) during the month than he did over his first 10 starts.
With 104.2 innings under his belt headed into the All-Star break, the Cardinals decided to give the 22-year-old additional rest with 13 days between starts. Upon his return from the layoff, Miller posted a 2.71 ERA with a 20/6 K/BB ratio in 16.2 innings over three starts.
Unfortunately, Miller ran into some tough luck on Wednesday when he took a line drive off his right elbow on the second pitch of the game. While it was a scary moment and one that obviously forced the right-hander from the game, he’s expected to avoid the disabled list and make his next start sometime next week.
Others (in no particular order): Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, Matt Adams, Evan Gattis, Trevor Rosenthal, Zack Wheeler, Jedd Gyorko, Nolan Arenado
1. Wil Myers, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
2013 Stats: .335/.386/.532, 53 H, 15 XBH (8 HR), 30 RBI, 5 SB, 38/15 K/BB (41 G)
So apparently Wil Myers just doesn’t stop hitting. Since his arrival on June 18, the 22-year-old has been one of the hottest and most productive hitters in baseball. More significantly, he’s arguably the main reason that the surging Rays own a 27-14 record since his debut.
Since the All-Star break, Myers is batting a robust .426/.500/.759 with five home runs, 15 RBI and a 9/9 K/BB ratio in 15 games. Meanwhile, the fact that he may see more playing time with Desmond Jennings on the disabled list only improves his overall value. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m pretty excited to see how he performs over the final two months of the season.
2. Jose Iglesias, SS-3B, Detroit Tigers
2013 Stats: .318/.361/.403, 75 H, 14 XBH, 34/11 K/BB (69 G)
After a torrid first three months of the season in which he surpassed all possible expectations with a .409 batting average, 23 runs scored and 12 extra-base hits in 39 games, Iglesias has come crashing back to Earth over the last month. So when the Red Sox were presented with an opportunity at the trade deadline to deal with the 23-year-old, they cashed in on his remaining value by shipping him to the soon-to-be shortstop-less Tigers.
Since the beginning of July, Iglesias has performed more like the hitter that everyone had grown accustomed to over the last three seasons, batting .202 with two extra-base hits and a 16/2 K/BB ratio.
3. Chris Archer, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays
2013 Stats: 6-4, 76.1 IP, 2.71 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, .204 BAA, 52/29 K/BB (13 GS)
Archer was absolutely dominant in July, registering a 0.73 ERA, 0.65 WHIP and 22/7 K/BB ratio in 37 innings. Of his five outings, two were of the complete-game shutout variety. Meanwhile, the 24-year-old showcased vastly improved command by throwing a strike with 322 of 493 pitches (65.3 percent). Therefore, it wasn’t entirely surprising that he was named the AL Pitcher and Rookie of the Month for July.
After a decent outing on August 2 against San Francisco (7 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 4/3 K/BB), the right-hander lasted only 1.2 innings in his start on Wednesday before leaving the game with right forearm tightness. The good news is that Archer is expected to make his next scheduled start on Tuesday against the Mariners.
4. Yan Gomes, C-1B, Cleveland Indians
2013 Stats: .302/.345/.531, 19 XBH (8 HR), 28 RBI, 32/9 K/BB (49 G)
Although Gomes has bounced between Triple-A and the major leagues this season and has yet to receive everyday playing time, the 26-year-old has made the most of his opportunities this season.
After a hot start in which he batted .310 with five home runs and 14 RBI in 22 games, Gomes eventually cooled off in June. However, the Brazil native has been a force at the dish since the beginning of July, batting .348 with five extra-base hits and eight RBI in 14 games.
5. Nick Franklin, 2B, Seattle Mariners
2013 Stats: .247/.315/.445, 24 XBH (10 HR), 5 SB, 64/23 K/BB (59 G)
Franklin fell into an ugly slump following his two-homer game against the Twins on July 28, going 1-for-28 with one run scored and 13 strikeouts over his next six contests. However, the 22-year-old second baseman finally showed signs of life on Wednesday when he went 1-for-4 with an RBI triple and two runs scored against the Blue Jays. The strikeouts have quietly piled up for Franklin, as he’s now fanned 19 times over his last 10 games.
Others (in no particular order): Casey Fien, Jurickson Profar, Dan Straily, Cody Allen, Alex Torres, Nick Tepesch, Brad Miller