While the 2012 rookie class stood out for its quality—thanks to phenoms Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Mike Trout— this year’s crop of talent will be remembered for its depth on both sides of the ball. However, that doesn’t mean it was short on impact talent.
21-year-old right-hander Jose Fernandez emerged as the Miami Marlins ace this year after making the jump from High-A to the major leagues and ultimately turning in one of the best seasons by a rookie pitcher in baseball history.
Across the country, Yasiel Puig became an immediate star for the Los Angeles Dodgers following his arrival in early June, as his five loud tools and an all-out playing style made the 22-year-old outfielder must-see television on a nightly basis.
Beyond Fernandez and Puig, though, the rest of this year’s rookie class may as well be lumped together as the “field.”
But with so many high-profile rookies playing in the postseason, I thought it would be interesting to see how they stacked up against each other during the regular season.
In order to do so, I first examined each player’s respective statistics from the year, comparing their production to other rookies while taking FanGraphs’ WAR totals into consideration. Because rookies—like prospects—are highly unpredictable, I also favored players who were consistent and enjoyed sustained success for either all or a majority of the season. And lastly, I assessed each player’s impact in relation to his team’s overall success.
Here’s my take on the top 15 rookies from the 2013 season.