The 2010 Major League Baseball season has produced a very talented rookie class.
In any sport it is hard to join the elite level and have an immediate impact on your team. Baseball is especially hard because it is a day-to-day grind and fear of a slump can consume your mentality. Many players will never make it to the "The Show" and some that do won't last longer than an alcoholic trying not to drink in a brewery.
But there are rookies who have a great impact on their team, and I've assembled this year's crop for my list of Rookie of the Year candidates.
Gaby Sanchez, 1B / Florida Marlins
Sanchez has played better than I expected this season and is a nice addition to all of the young talent in South Florida.
Sanchez is hitting .294 with, 52 RBIs, and 49 Rs. The most impressive stat from Sanchez is his .816 OPS - .355 OBP and .461 SGL.
If Sanchez can bring up that HR total a bit next season, he could become a familiar face in the Marlins new stadium, if they ever open that fish tank.
Starlin Castro, SS / Chicago Cubs
Castro is who I hope will be the new face of the Cubs. This kid has some pop in the bat, speed on the bases, and plays pretty well in the field.
Once he learns how to draw a few more walks and steal bases, this Castro will be giving teams another Cuban Missile Crisis.
Castro is hitting .308 with 20 DBLs and 33 RBIs. Now, if the Cubs would just get rid of some of these bums who couldn't hit a parked car in a Buick...
Mike Leake, SP / Cincinnati Reds
As I predicted, the Reds are competitive this season and Leake is one of the big reasons why. Early on in the season, this kid was pitching lights out every fifth day, but has slowed recently.
Leake may need to rekindle that early season magic if he wants to taste the post season in his first year in the majors.
In 20 games started, Leake has pitched 126 innings, resulting in a 7-3 record with 3.86 ERA. Apparently, baseball rookie hazing means giving your rookies a lack of run support.
Jaime Garcia, SP / St. Louis Cardinals
Oddly enough, Garcia and Leake will be pitching for not only ROY honors, but also to help their clubs win the NL Central. Garcia has given the Cards a legit third man in the rotation.
The Cards already had two dominant right handed pitchers that can mow down batters like a Rambo movie. Garcia gives them a lefty side kick who has only surrendered six long balls all season.
Garcia has started 21 games this season, thrown 121 innings, and posted a 9-5 record with a 2.53 ERA.
Austin Jackson, OF / Detroit Tigers
Jackson's arrival to Detroit this season was highly anticipated and he has delivered. The outfielder still has some rough edges, but he's done a lot for his team, which, until a week ago, was in a pennant race.
Jackson has been the team's lead-off hitter and has done OK so far. To become a premiere lead-off hitter he will have to strike out less and draw some more walks.
However, Jackson is hitting .307 with 26 DBLs and 16 SBs in 101 games. Jackson reminds me of Willy Mays Hayes from Major League. Not such a bad comparison.
Buster Posey, C / San Francisco Giants
In only 61 games, Posey has been very impressive and given the Giants a much needed offensive jolt. Posey could become the NL's Joe Mauer.
I probably would have picked Posey to be my MVP had he played a little earlier in the season. And when it's all said and done, I still might if he helps the Giants into the playoffs.
Posey is hitting .342 with 8 HRs and 37 RBIs. I am most impressed with his .907 OPS - .518 SLG and almost .400 OBP.
Jason Heyward, OF / Atlanta Braves
I heard about this kid in the off-season and had no idea what to make of all the hype surrounding someone so young. I watched his first AB, and he went yard. Heyward has followed that up with game-winning hits and spectacular play in the outfield.
I predicted the Braves would win the NL Wild Card before the season started and wasn't really sure how they would do it with so little offense. Heyward has been a big reason why 100-plus games into the season I think they still have a chance.
Bobby Cox and Chipper Jones are both on their farewell tours and have had nothing but wonderful things to say about this young man.
Heyward's numbers aren't overly impressive, with a .261 BA, 11 HRs, 50 RBIs and 8 SBs, but from day one he has been a contributor on one of the best teams in baseball. With about 50 games left to play in the season, Heyward is my Rookie of the Year.
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