Predictions for Every Top MLB Rookie in the 2013 Postseason
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A big deal was made earlier in the day after the Cincinnati Reds announced speedster Billy Hamilton would be included on their postseason roster.
Frankly, it was understandable. Hamilton opened his big league career by stealing 13 consecutive bases, including four in his first start. The 23-year-old’s combination of off-the-charts speed and aggressiveness on the basepaths give him the potential to change any game, let alone a postseason one, the second he steps on the field.
However, the Pittsburgh Pirates denied Hamilton of his postseason debut on Tuesday night, as they defeated the Reds, 6-2, in the NL Wild Card Game.
Although Hamilton and his teammates’ seasons have come to an end, there are countless other standout rookies still active in the playoffs.
Here’s what to expect from the top rookies playing this October.
Gerrit Cole, RHP
2013 Stats: 10-7, 117.1 IP, 3.22 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, .253 BAA, 100/28 K/BB (19 GS)
Regarded as one of baseball’s top prospects heading into the season, Gerrit Cole has amazingly lived up to expectations since joining the Pirates rotation in early June.
The 23-year-old right-hander was particularly impressive in 12 starts after the All-Star break, as he posted a 2.85 ERA with 75 strikeouts in 75.2 innings. More importantly, Cole was at his best when the club needed him most in September. Making five starts in the heat of the playoff race, the right-hander was 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA and 39/10 K/BB ratio in 32 innings.
Expect Cole to take the mound in either Game 2 or 3 of the NLDS.
Justin Wilson, LHP
2013 Stats: 6-1, 73.2 IP, 2.08 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, .192 BAA, 59/28 K/BB (58 G)
After getting his first taste of the major leagues last season as a September call-up, Justin Wilson impressed enough during spring training to secure a spot in Pittsburgh’s Opening Day bullpen.
Developed as a starting pitcher, the 26-year-old left-hander is capable of working multiple innings in an outing, as he logged 73.2 innings over 58 games this season. In general, Wilson was consistent throughout the year, registering a sub-two ERA in four of six months this season.
Considering his effectiveness against hitters from both sides of the plate, Wilson will undoubtedly be used in his usual middle-relief role in the playoffs.
Jose Iglesias, SS
2013 Stats: .303/.349/.386, 21 XBH, 5 SB, 60/15 K/BB (109 G)
Jose Iglesias was acquired from Boston shortly before the trade deadline as part of a three-team deal that also involved the Chicago White Sox. The 23-year-old played out of his mind during his time with the Red Sox, posting a .785 OPS with 71 hits in 63 games. However, he was in the midst of an expected regression when the Tigers landed him in late July.
Expecting to lose shortstop Jhonny Peralta to a 50-game PED suspension, Iglesias was brought in primarily for his slick, highlight-reel-worthy defense, adding athleticism and range to an otherwise slothful infield. In my opinion, Iglesias will make a greater impact with his glove than bat this October.
Boston Red Sox
Brandon Workman, RHP
2013 Stats: 6-3, 41.2 IP, 4.97 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, .272 BAA, 47/15 K/BB (20 G/3 GS)
Brandon Workman should earn a spot on the playoff roster after demonstrating value as a versatile reliever over the final two months of the season. While the 25-year-old posted a 6.94 ERA in 17 games out of the bullpen, he demonstrated a knack for missing bats with 29 strikeouts in 23.1 innings. More importantly, Workman enjoyed most of his success this season at Fenway Park where he was 3-1 with a 2.41 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 18.2 innings.
Given his ability to mix four pitches and work multiple innings, expect Workman to be used as either a long reliever or late-inning option in the postseason.
*The Red Sox are yet to announce their 25-man playoff roster, but there’s a chance that they could carry either Xander Bogaerts or Jackie Bradley on their bench.
Evan Gattis, C-OF
2013 Stats: .243/.291/.480, 42 XBH (21 HR), 65 RBI, 81/21 K/BB (105 G)
Evan Gattis, or should I say “El Oso Blanco”, played a major role in the Braves’ red-hot start to open the season. The 27-year-old rookie posted a .952 OPS with 12 home runs and 32 RBI over his first two months (43 games) in the major leagues. However, his playing time was limited following Brian McCann’s return from the disabled list, and he played in a combined 37 games between June, July and August.
The Braves sent Gattis to the minor leagues late in August to ensure he received regular at-bats before subsequently recalling him when the rosters expanded in September. He looked like his early-season self upon his return to The Show, posting a .780 OPS with six home runs and 18 RBI in 25 games.
Gattis swung the bat well over the final two weeks of the regular season, so expect manager Fredi Gonzalez to ride the hot hand and get him in the lineup.
Julio Teheran, RHP
2013 Stats: 14-8, 185.2 IP, 3.20 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, .246 BAA, 170/45 K/BB (30 GS)
After a pair of unsuccessful auditions with the Braves in 2011 and 2012, Julio Teheran finally put everything together this season and ultimately emerged as the team’s most consistent starter. Of his 30 starts, the 22-year-old right-hander logged 17 quality starts and 15 in which he stuck out six-plus hitters.
With Kris Medlen scheduled to start Game 1 of the NLDS against the Dodgers, Teheran could potentially start Game 3 if manager Fredi Gonzalez decides to break up his right-handers and tab Mike Minor for Game 2.
Alex Wood, LHP
2013 Stats: 3-3, 77.2 IP, 3.13 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, .263 BAA, 77/27 K/BB (31 G/11 GS)
Alex Wood was solid out of the Braves’ bullpen following his promotion to the major leagues in late May. And thanks to his background as a starter in the minors, the 22-year-old was able to make a relatively smooth transition into the rotation following Tim Hudson’s gruesome ankle injury. In August—his first full month as a starter—Wood registered a 0.90 ERA with 28 strikeouts in 30 innings over five starts.
The Braves decided to move Wood back to the bullpen for the final two weeks of the season in an effort to limit his workload. The left-hander responded by making five consecutive scoreless appearances to conclude the regular season.
Wood has increased value in a five- or seven-game series due to his handedness and ability to miss bats while working multiple innings. Though he’s been effective against same-side hitters this season, don’t expect Wood to be used in such a defined role this October.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Yasiel Puig, OF
2013 Stats: .319/.391/.534, 66 R, 42 XBH (19 HR), 11 SB, 97/36 K/BB (104 G)
All eyes will undoubtedly be on Yasiel Puig this October as he looks to build upon an already historic rookie season.
With the tools and athleticism to impact the game on both sides of the ball, the 22-year-old phenom took baseball by storm upon his arrival in early June, batting .436/.467/.713 with 44 hits and seven home runs in his first month with the Dodgers.
Puig’s production steadily regressed over the subsequent months as he battled numerous injuries and was forced to make adjustments at the plate. In September, he posted a season-worst .214 batting average and .333 on-base percentage over 26 games. However, it’s worth noting that six of his 18 hits left the park.
Puig has proven to be one of the game’s more dynamic players, and I fully expect him to add to his legend in the postseason.
Hyun-Jin Ryu, LHP
2013 Stats: 14-8, 192 IP, 3.00 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, .252 BAA, 154/49 K/BB (30 GS)
Hyun-Jin Ryu has been a model of consistency this season in the middle of the Dodgers’ starting rotation, logging 192 innings and making all but one scheduled start. The 26-year-old seemingly found his groove over his final 10 starts of the regular season, registering a 2.71 ERA and 49/7 K/BB ratio in 63 innings
With Clayton Kershaw and Zack Grienke expected to take the mound in Games 1 and 2 of the NLDS, respectively, Ryu will play a huge role as the Dodgers’ third starter in the postseason and possibly pitch in several series-clinching games.
Paco Rodriguez, LHP
2013 Stats: 3-4, 54.1 IP, 2.32 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, .164 BAA, 63/19 K/BB (76 G)
Paco Rodriguez struggled over the final month of the season after thriving as the Dodgers' go-to situational left-hander for nearly the entire year. Appearing in 12 games in September, the 22-year-old posted an ugly 5.68 ERA with eight hits allowed and nine walks (three intentionally) in 6.1 innings.
Regardless of his late-season scuffles, Rodriguez will continue to serve as the Dodgers’ top LOOGY option in the postseason.
Yan Gomes, C
2013 Stats: .294/.345/.481, 45 R, 31 XBH (11 HR), 67/18 K/BB (88 G)
The first Brazilian-born player to reach the major leagues, Gomes emerged as one of Cleveland’s more consistent hitters during the second half of the season and eventually took over as their primary catcher.
In 49 games following the All-Star break, the 26-year-old batted .319/.385/.485 with 17 extra-base hits and 18 RBI. Even more impressive is what Gomes has done behind the plate this season, posting a 41 percent caught-stealing rate (20-of-49) while saving 11 runs, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
Expect Gomes to receive a majority of the playing time behind the dish this October.
Danny Salazar, RHP
2013 Stats: 2-3, 52 IP, 3.12 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, .226 BAA, 65/15 K/BB (10 GS)
Danny Salazar will make the most important start of his career on Wednesday night, as the rookie right-hander is scheduled to take on the visiting Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Wild Card Game.
With a fastball that reaches triple digits, upper-80s breaking ball and devastating changeup, Salazar quickly developed a reputation for missing bats upon arriving in the major leagues in July. The 23-year-old posted a ridiculous 11.3 K/9 rate this year in 52 innings, striking out seven or more batters in six of his 10 starts.
Depending on how he fares Wednesday night will likely determine his role in the ALDS, but my guess is that the Indians continue to deploy him as a starter.
Cody Allen, RHP
2013 Stats: 6-1, 2 SV, 70.1 IP, 2.43 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, .233 BAA, 88/26 KBB (77 G)
Cody Allen has quietly become one of the better late-inning relievers in the American League this year in his first full season in the major leagues. The 24-year-old right-hander was excellent during the Indians' playoff surge in August and September, posting a 2.05 ERA with 31 strikeouts in 26.1 innings spanning 31 appearances.
Allen was especially sharp over the final weeks of the regular season and will enter Wednesday’s game riding a streak of 10 consecutive scoreless appearances. Expect him to keep excelling in high-leverage situations this October.
Tampa Bay Rays
Wil Myers, OF
2013 Stats: .293/.354/.478, 50 R, 36 XBH (13 HR), 53 RBI, 5 SB, 91/33 K/BB (88 G)
The should-be Rookie of the Year in the American League, Myers was the driving force behind Tampa Bays’ midseason surge into playoff contention. Following his promotion to the major leagues on June 18, the Rays posted a 52-36 record when Myers was in the lineup.
Coming off a dismal month of August in which he posted a .631 OPS with 29 strikeouts in 24 games, the 22-year-old outfielder returned to form in September with a .904 OPS, 17 extra-base hits and 14 RBI in 28 games.
Myers will now have a chance to showcase his tremendous ability on a national stage, with Tampa Bay set to take on Cleveland in the AL Wild Card Game on Wednesday night. And if the Rays plan on lasting deep into the postseason, they’ll need Myers to produce in the middle of the order.
Chris Archer, RHP
2013 Stats: 9-7, 128.2 IP, 3.22 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, .226 BAA, 101/38 K/BB (23 GS)
Chris Archer—a likely top-five finisher behind teammate Wil Myers in the AL Rookie of the Year voting—was named as both the AL Rookie and Pitcher of the Month for July after he went 4-0 with two complete-game shutouts and a 0.73 ERA in 37 innings (five starts).
However, the 25-year-old right-hander steadily regressed in the subsequent months, registering a 4.13 ERA with 61 hits allowed (10 home runs) in 61 innings covering his final 12 starts.
Given the experience of veteran starters David Price, Matt Moore and Alex Cobb (or Jeremy Hellickson), Archer is likely to serve as a reliever for the Rays in the postseason. And considering his potential to miss bats with three plus pitches (fastball/slider/changeup), don’t be surprised if manager Joe Maddon uses him in a high-leverage role.
Alex Torres, LHP
2013 Stats: 4-2, 58 IP, 1.71 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, .159 BAA, 62/20 K/BB (39 G)
Alex Torres originally reached the major leagues in 2011 as a September call-up but failed to return to The Show the following year due to injuries and ineffectiveness. This season, however, the 25-year-old left-hander has emerged as an integral part of the Rays’ bullpen.
Following his promotion to the majors in the middle of May, Torres posted a ridiculous 0.26 ERA and 0.61 WHIP with 42 strikeouts over 34.1 innings before cooling down over the final two months of the season.
Given his effectiveness against both right- (1.27 ERA, .149 BAA) and left-handed hitters (2.38 ERA, .175 BAA) this season, expect Torres to be used heavily throughout the playoffs.
Dan Straily, RHP
2013 Stats: 10-8, 152.1 IP, 3.96 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, .233 BAA, 124/57 K/BB (27 GS)
Dan Straily had an up-and-down rookie campaign as part of the A’s starting rotation, posting a four-plus ERA in four of six months this season. However, the 24-year-old was at his best in September with five consecutive starts in which he allowed two earned runs or less. Overall, Straily registered a 2.10 ERA, .163 BAA and 26/13 K/BB ratio in 30 innings that month.
Thanks to his late-season success (and an A.J. Griffin elbow injury), Straily was named as the A's ALDS Game 4 starter if necessary.
Sonny Gray, RHP
2013 Stats: 5-3, 64 IP, 2.67 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, .214 BAA, 67/20 K/BB (12 G/10 GS)
Sonny Gray was one of the A’s hottest pitchers over the final two months of the season, registering a 2.85 ERA with 61 strikeouts in 60 innings following his insertion into the starting rotation in early August.
Armed with a low- to mid-90s fastball, swing-and-miss curveball and vastly underrated changeup, the 23-year-old right-hander has the stuff to be successful in any role. Gray also is coming off one the best starts of his career on September 29 against Seattle, when he allowed three hits and three walks with eight strikeouts over five scoreless frames. The A's will continue to play the hot hand with Gray, announcing on Tuesday afternoon that he will start Game 2 of the ALDS against Detroit.
Sonny Gray vs. Justin Verlander on Saturday. Be there.
St. Louis Cardinals
Michael Wacha, RHP
2013 Stats: 4-1, 64.2 IP, 2.78 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, .219 BAA, 65/19 K/BB (15 G/9 GS)
Michael Wacha enters the postseason coming off the best month of his big league career. In September, the 22-year-old right-hander posted a 1.72 ERA and .198 opponent batting average over five starts, and came within one out of a no-hitter in his final start of the regular season on September 24 against the Washington Nationals.
Wacha is arguably the Cardinals’ hottest starter heading into their NLDS matchup against Pittsburgh. So, don’t be surprised if he’s tabbed to start either Game 2 or Game 3.
Seth Maness, RHP
2013 Stats: 5-2, 62 IP, 2.32 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, .281 BAA, 35/13 K/BB (66 G)
While he doesn’t boast a power arm like every other pitcher in the Cardinals’ bullpen, Maness’ plus command and knack for inducing ground-ball outs (70 percent ground-ball rate) has made him an asset as a middle reliever this season. Expect him to serve a similar role in the team’s postseason bullpen.
Shelby Miller, RHP
2013 Stats: 15-9, 173.1 IP, 3.06 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .234 BAA, 169/57 K/BB (31 GS)
Shelby Miller was outstanding during the first half of the season, posting a 2.92 ERA and 112/29 K/BB ratio in 104.2 innings over 18 starts. However, the 22-year-old noticeably wore down following the All-Star break and logged only one quality start in August.
While he didn’t miss as many bats as he did earlier in the season, Miller rebounded nicely in September with a 2.76 ERA over five starts. More importantly, he generated some momentum heading into the postseason.
Miller received a taste of playoff atmosphere in 2012 as a reliever in the NLCS, so taking the mound this October should be a somewhat familiar experience. Expect him to be named one of the Cardinals’ starters in the NLDS.
Carlos Martinez, RHP
2013 Stats: 2-1, 28.1 IP, 5.08 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, .282 BAA, 24/9 K/BB (21 G/1 GS)
Aside from an ugly start on September 17 in which he allowed four earned runs on five hits in 1.2 innings against Colorado, Carlos Martinez was impressive out of the bullpen over the final month of the season.
Carrying a streak of five consecutive scoreless appearances heading into the NLDS, the 22-year-old right-hander stands a legitimate chance to make the postseason roster thanks to an explosive upper-90s fastball, plus changeup and swing-and-miss slider. If he does, then expect Martinez to be used on a matchup basis in the seventh and eighth innings.
Trevor Rosenthal, RHP
2013 Stats: 2-4, 3 SV, 75.1 IP, 2.63 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, .223 BAA, 108/20 K/BB (74 G)
Trevor Rosenthal put himself on the map in the 2012 playoffs with seven dominant outings during the NLDS and NLCS. Logging 8.2 scoreless innings as the Cardinals’ setup man, the flame-throwing right-hander allowed just a pair of hits and walks while striking out 15 batters.
This season was more of the same, as Rosenthal established himself as arguably the top eighth-inning arm in baseball by fanning 108 batters in only 75.1 innings (12.9 K/9).
Rosenthal will serve as the Cardinals’ closer during the playoffs after inheriting the gig in the wake of Edward Mujica’s late-season struggles. While he lacks experience with only three career saves, Rosenthal possesses both the stuff and poise to excel in the role.
Kevin Siegrist, LHP
2013 Stats: 3-1, 39.2 IP, 0.45 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, .128 BAA, 50/18 K/BB (45 G)
Kevin Siegrist is perhaps one of the more underrated relievers in the game. Added to the 40-man roster last November following a breakout performance in the Arizona Fall League, the 24-year-old emerged as the Cardinals’ go-to left-hander out of the bullpen following his arrival in early June.
Heading into the postseason, Siegrist is riding a streak of 28 scoreless appearances dating back to August 1—that’s right, he has not allowed a run in two months. During that span, he has posted a 30/10 K/BB ratio in 25 innings while allowing just 12 hits. And it’s not like he’s only effective against same-side hitters; Siegrist has been equally successful against right- (0.48 ERA, .138 BAA) and left-handed hitters (0.43 ERA, .118 BAA).
Expect him to keep working the eighth and ninth inning for the Cardinals this October.