As we enter the home stretch of the 2013 MLB season, both the NL and AL Rookie of the Year awards are still far from decided.
That's a far cry from last season, when Mike Trout essentially had the AL honor locked up by midseason, and Bryce Harper was challenged by Wade Miley and Todd Frazier but was the safe bet to win the award for a good deal of time.
As we enter the final week-plus of the 2013 season, here is an updated look at the top five Rookie of the Year candidates in each league and whether their stock is trending up or down.
National League Candidates
|SP Jose Fernandez, MIA||28 GS, 12-6, 2.19 ERA, 58 BB, 187 K, 172.2 IP|
|SP Shelby Miller, STL||29 GS, 14-9, 3.01 ERA, 52 BB, 162 K, 161.1 IP|
|RF Yasiel Puig, LAD||94 G, .336/.404/.553, 21 2B, 17 HR, 39 RBI, 62 R|
|SP Hyun-Jin Ryu, LAD||28 GS, 13-7, 3.03 ERA, 47 BB, 144 K, 181.0 IP|
|SP Julio Teheran, ATL||28 GS, 12-8, 3.14 ERA, 45 BB, 160 K, 174.2 IP|
1. SP Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins
The 21-year-old Fernandez turned in one of the best rookie pitching seasons in recent memory this season, but his case for the award will stand as it is the rest of the way, as he made his final start of the season on Sept. 11 before being shut down for the season at 172.2 innings.
Fernandez entered the season having not thrown a pitch above the High-A level, and had it not been for a pair of late-spring injuries he likely would have spent at least the first half of the season in the minors.
Instead, he gave Marlins fans something to cheer about in what was an otherwise trying season and should receive some legitimate NL Cy Young consideration aside from being the front-runner for NL Rookie of the Year at this point.
The fact that he's the only one of the top five candidates here to not play for a postseason team is unfortunate but shouldn't play much of a factor in the voting, as that is not taken into account as much as it is with MVP voting.
2. RF Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers
He's not tearing the cover off the ball like he was when he first broke into the league, but Puig has settled in as a plus-contributor in the outfield who is still capable of being a spark plug atop the lineup.
He's hitting .264/.381/.528 with nine runs scored here in September, and with Carl Crawford slumping and perhaps headed to the bench with Matt Kemp back, Puig could slide into the leadoff spot for the remainder of the season.
The 22-year-old ranks third among all rookies in hits and home runs and leads the way in runs scored, and he's done it while recording just the 10th-most at-bats among first-year players.
3. SP Shelby Miller, St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals have relied heavily on the performance of Miller this season with Kyle Lohse gone in free agency and both Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia on the shelf, and he has stepped into the No. 2 starter role nicely.
The team has been careful to limit his innings by not pitching him deep into games, as he's thrown over six innings just six times this season, and that has allowed them to not be concerned with whether or not to shut him down here down the stretch.
He ran into some trouble at the end of August, allowing 14 hits and eight runs in 10 innings of work over two starts, but he has turned it back on his last two times out with eight hits and one earned run allowed in 11.2 innings for back-to-back wins.
4. SP Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers
Signed to a six-year, $36 million deal out of South Korea, the Dodgers inked Ryu along with Zack Greinke in the offseason in an effort to bolster their starting rotation, and those moves have worked out fantastically to this point.
The left-hander leads all rookie pitchers in innings pitched, and he has turned in 21 quality starts in 28 appearances this season to rank eighth among all qualified starter in QS percentage.
With Clayton Kershaw, Greinke and Ricky Nolasco all pitching well, the team may need him to be nothing more than a No. 4 starter come October, and if that is the case he may very well be the best No. 4 starter in all of baseball right now.
5. SP Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves
Teheran had a rocky start to the season, allowing 13 earned runs in 16 innings of work in his first three starts, but since then he has been a reliable arm in the middle of the Braves rotation and arguably their best starter at times.
Who Should Win NL Rookie of the Year?
From the start of May to the end of July, he was the best rookie pitcher outside of Jose Fernandez, going 10-7 with a 2.57 ERA and helping the Braves run away with the NL East.
He's allowed seven runs in 13.1 innings of work in two September starts, as he's not been quite as sharp of late, but the Braves will rely on him to be their No. 3 starter come October. He drops down the list because of those two subpar starts, but he could just as easily climb back up to the No. 3 spot; that's how close it is between those three guys.
The 22-year-old was arguably the top pitching prospect in baseball heading into the 2012 season, but a rough second go-around in Triple-A saw his stock fall quite a bit. A dominant spring was enough to win him the No. 5 starter spot, and he has been huge in the Braves' success this season.
Honorable Mention: SP Tony Cingrani CIN, SP Gerrit Cole PIT, 3B Nolan Arenado COL, C/LF Evan Gattis
American League Candidates
|SP Chris Archer, TB||21 GS, 9-7, 3.02 ERA, 35 BB, 90 K, 122 IP|
|SS Jose Iglesias, DET||104 G, .312/.357/.397, 16 2B, 3 HR, 29 RBI, 39 R|
|RF Wil Myers, TB||77 G, .300/.363/.497, 18 2B, 13 HR, 49 RBI, 41 R|
|SP Martin Perez, TEX||17 GS, 9-5, 3.64 ERA, 30 BB, 68 K, 106.1 IP|
|SP Dan Straily, OAK||25 GS, 10-7, 4.11 ERA, 52 BB, 113 K, 140 IP|
1. RF Wil Myers, Tampa Bay Rays
Acquired from the Royals in the offseason, Myers took home Minor League Player of the Year honors in 2012, and he made an immediate impact when the Rays called him up on June 18.
From the time of his call-up through the end of July, he hit .331/.372/.528 with seven home runs and 27 RBI in 36 games, as he looked poised to run away with the AL award in what was a wide-open race.
He slumped in August though, with a line of just .209/.317/.314 and two home runs for the month, and that once again opened up the award to a number of other candidates.
He's back at it this month though as the hottest hitter in the Rays lineup, batting .355/.412/.677 with four home runs and 10 RBI in 17 games as he again looks like the favorite to win the award.
2. SP Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays
With James Shields gone, Alex Cobb and David Price dealing with injuries and Jeremy Hellickson struggling for much of the season, the Rays have relied heavily on Archer to shoulder the load in the starting rotation this year.
The right-hander was nothing short of phenomenal in July, going 4-0 with a 0.73 ERA in five starts and running neck-and-neck with teammate Wil Myers for the AL honors.
He's gone 3-4 with a 3.81 ERA since, allowing five earned runs twice over the span and registering just five quality starts in 10 outings. He looks to be back on track now though, allowing two runs in 12 innings over his last two starts, and he'll be counted to fill a rotation spot in the postseason if the Rays can hold on and make it.
3. SP Dan Straily, Oakland Athletics
The A's called up Straily down the stretch last season, and he posted a 3.89 ERA in seven starts after dominating at the minor league level with a 2.78 ERA and 190 strikeouts in 152 innings of work.
That was enough to earn Straily a rotation spot for 2013, and he leads all American League rookie pitchers in starts, wins, innings pitched and strikeouts.
He's been up-and-down this season, but he is pitching great right now, going 4-0 with a 1.90 ERA in his last four starts. He'll be counted on to keep that up down the stretch and on into the postseason, with an inexperienced staff behind Bartolo Colon.
4. SS Jose Iglesias, Detroit Tigers
The Tigers acquired Iglesias from the Red Sox at the deadline as an insurance policy for suspended All-Star shortstop Jhonny Peralta.
There were questions entering the year whether the slick-fielding shortstop would ever hit enough to be an everyday player, but he quickly played his way into an everyday role with the Red Sox at third base after Will Middlebrooks struggled early.
He's come back to earth a bit after his hot start in Boston, but he's still hitting a respectable .280/.323/.376 in 41 games with Detroit since the trade and with Peralta gone in free agency at the end of the season he could be the long-term answer at the position.
5. SP Martin Perez, Texas Rangers
It's been an interesting season in Texas, as the team entered the year with limited expectations following an offseason of departed free agents and missed opportunities to sign big-name talent to replace them.
Who Should Win AL Rookie of the Year?
While offense was the concern entering the season, injuries to the pitching staff soon made that priority No. 1, and among those injured pitchers was Martin Perez who suffered a fractured ulna on a liner back up the middle in spring training.
He didn't debut until May 27, and entered August at 3-3 with a 3.93 ERA on the season, though he was still a welcome addition to the Rangers' staff.
The left-hander rattled off wins in six straight decisions through August and into his first September start, and was perhaps the team's best starter behind Yu Darvish over that span.
He's dropped his last two starts though, allowing seven earned runs in 11.1 innings of work, as he has struggled like much of the Rangers roster during their recent slide. Nonetheless, he'd likely be the team's No. 4 starter if it reaches the postseason.
Honorable Mention: RP Cody Allen CLE, OF J.B. Shuck LAA