MLB Rookie of The Year Power Rankings: Has Buster Posey Locked It Up?
With just a few weeks to go, the year of the rookie is set to come to a close in baseball, and what a year it was. So many great rookies appeared on the scene, many of whom would win the Rookie of the Year Award no problem most years. Of course, this is not most years. We have the performers, the hyped stars, and Stephen Strasburg this year, among all the other rookie to sneak on the scene that you may not have heard of.
The top five candidates in the AL and Nl, in my opinion, are listed. Some names included and excluded will probably surprise you; I'm looking past any hype and just looking at how well they have performed this year. There are so many names in the NL to choose from that many will be left off, even some that others may consider frontrunners. There are fewer in the AL, yet it is just as difficult to pinpoint a winner.
American League: 5. John Jaso
The starting catcher for the Tampa Bay Rays, John Jaso has had a very solid season, yet has flown completely under the radar. In 91 games, he has a .281 batting average and 45 RBI, and ended up playing better than Carlos Santana, even excluding the latter's season ending injury.
4. Brennan Boesch
At the all-star break, Boesch and his .342 average made him the runaway leader for the American League RoY Award, and for good reason: the Tigers outfielder was playing so well he made Austin Jackson look like an afterthought.
Since then, however, has hit .156. A .266/14/62 statline is still great for a rookie, but it's nothing compared to how he was once playing. He needs to get out of this funk if he wants to win.
3. Neftali Feliz
Were this 10 or 15 years ago, perhaps Feliz would be the frontrunner, if only for his 34 saves, which is approaching the record for a rookie. These days, however, saves are not looked at as such a big deal, at least not in comparison to earlier. Yes, Andrew Bailey won the award last year, but Feliz hasn't been quite as dominant, plus the top two rookies have been playing extremely well.
2. Danny Valencia
If Valencia has been playing the whole season like most of his counterparts, he'd be running away with this award. In 63 games (at most he can finish with 88), he is batting .343 with 16 doubles and 26 RBI. The batting average would jump out at anyone, and his fielding has been very solid as well. Could he win the award with that few games played, though?
Ryan Howard won it in a similar matter in 2005, but the 2005 class is nothing like the 2010 class. Still, stranger things have happened.
1. Austin Jackson
With Jackson, who's lead the race a good deal of the season, on one end you have 145 strikeouts, which is a ridiculously high number. On the other hand, you have a .305 batting average, nine triples, 22 stolen bases, and is playing solidly at center field. He would get my vote right now, but he has to keep producing and hold off Danny Valencia.
National League: 5. Gaby Sanchez
Unlike the others on this list, Sanchez has gotten little fanfare, and admittedly I'm not sure why. He has 16 HR and 72 RBI in his first season, and has been much better than his far more hyped teammate, Mike Stanton.
4. Jason Heyward
I can't put Mr. Hype any higher than here. He's played well this season, as have everyone else on this list, as well as about 10 other National League players who missed the cut. His stats are nearly identical to Sanchez though, yet everyone seems willing to just hand over the title to Heyward.
A .283/16/65 could be good enough most years to win the award, but this is the year of the rookie, 2010, and Heyward is not the best rookie, not at all.
3. Starlin Castro
Castro was tough to place, mainly because, as a fielder, he has been less than impressive. Beyond that, his problems with the Cubs over the past day could realistically knock him out of the top five, since voters remember that.
As a hitter, however, Castro has been great. A .317 batting average that's good for 4th in the NL and 29 doubles has made the Cubs feel they have something to look forward to in the future. His strikeout count is also a lot less than Sanchez and Heyward.
2. Buster Posey
Has Buster Posey locked up the RoY Award? Nope, in fact he's not even first. He has not played the full season like the others on this list have, though in spite of that his numbers have been impressive. .326/11/55 in 85 games is a pretty nice statline, and his hitting has kept the Giants afloat in the NL West, as they haven't had much besides a temporary explosion from Aubrey Huff in the middle of the season.
He's close to breaking through and finishing the season as the Rookie of the Year, but he needs to continue to hold this team together and continue to play well.
1. Jaime Garcia
While Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter have again had great seasons, Garcia has given the Cardinals perhaps the best 1-2-3 starting rotation in the major leagues. I threw about Posey as the leader, as well as Garcia, but in the end, I had to give it to the St. Louis pitcher.
A 13-6 record and a 2.35 ERA is great from anyone, but from a rookie it's just phenomenal. If his last few pitching performances can be great, and if he can hold off Buster Posey, he will be a very deserving Rookie of the Year.