Everyone's rookie darling this season has been Evan Longoria.
After all, the Tampa Bay Rays' top-notch prospect, who was recalled in April to be the next Mike Schmidt, has not let down in his first year as a major-league third baseman. He's hit consistently throughout the season and carried the surprising Rays through various periods of the season.
Sure-fire Rookie of the Year, right?
Not so fast.
There's another rookie making a splash this season. He's not the big-name prospect that Longoria is, and at a few days shy of his 27th birthday, he hardly fits the profile of a rookie.
But nonetheless, he's a rookie and a darn good ballplayer. He's the spark-plug second baseman for the Chicago White Sox, Alexei Ramirez.
Ramirez may not possess the Hall of Fame-caliber upside that Longoria does, but his numbers this season compare incredibly favorably with Longoria's. It makes one wonder if perhaps Ramirez could become the first White Sox player to win a Rookie of the Year award since his manager, Ozzie Guillen, took home the award 23 years ago.
The numbers are so close that it's a virtual coin flip between the two rookies.
Evan Longoria, who spent a number of weeks on the disabled list with an injured wrist, is hitting .281 entering Tuesday's games with 22 home runs and 74 RBI. His OPS, the telltale stat that so many baseball gurus go by these days, is a whopping .983.
Ramirez, on the other hand, has roughly 40 more at-bats then Longoria on the season. He's hitting .300 with 17 home runs and 67 RBIs. His OPS is significantly less then Longoria's at .797.
Both Longoria and Ramirez have also played stellar defense for their team this season. Longoria has proven he can handle the hot corner on the big-league level, compiling a .972 fielding percentage with only eight errors in over 900 innings.
Ramirez has a .980 fielding percentage with 10 errors while playing out-of-position at second base for the White Sox in 900 innings.
The numbers for both Longoria and Ramirez do not tell the whole story of their values to their respective teams. The two have provided countless highlight-reel defensive gems and timely RBI in clutch situations.
But while many pundits have all but handed Longoria the Rookie of the Year award, and his name alone will qualify a number of votes, don't discredit Ramirez. He's been remarkably consistent for most of the year and has made incredibly strides since arriving from Cuba.
Longoria may ultimately have the edge, but Ramirez may deserve it just as much.
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