Rookie Of The Year Race Heating Up
One of the most intriguing awards given out at the conclusion of the baseball season is the rookie of the year award. This year’s National League ROY race is going to be a good one. There are 4 serious contenders for the award this year, two pitchers and two Pirates. Here’s how the race sizes up, in my opinion.
4. Garrett Jones
The Pirates first baseman/outfielder has been fantastic since his call-up on July 1st. Garrett has provided some serious pop in the middle of the order, hitting 18 home runs in 55 games (that’s about 1 every 3 games, a pace that in a full season would result in 50+ homers). Jones has also been hitting for good average, his season clip is at .294 right now. He also adds an element of speed, as he has shown while swiping 9 bases in his 2 months with the club (he’s been caught only once). Despite all these great numbers, I think the fact that he didn’t play the first 3 months of the season will almost rule him out of this race.
3. Tommy Hanson
One of the Braves top prospects, Tommy Hanson burst on to the scene this year in early June. Hanson has been remarkable. He has made 15 starts as a Brave and won 9 of them. His ERA is a beautiful 3.15 and his most impressive stat is his 7.4 SO/9 rate. Hanson has unbelievable stuff and has been making some of the game’s best hitters look lost at the plate. If you were to watch him pitch you’d never know this was his first year in the majors.
2. Andrew McCutchen
If you have ever read this blog, you know how I feel about this guy. Andrew McCutchen has been the Pirates’ best player since his call up on June 4th (after the Nate McLouth trade). Cutch is sporting a very impressive .284/.359/.489 line. He has shown some power as well, hitting 11 home runs in 79 games (one every 7 games, a pace of 20+ in a full season). McCutchen’s best aspect has been his speed and his defense. Andrew has swiped 15 bases while only being caught 3 times. This number seems low, the kid has the speed to be one of the best base stealers in the game. Once he gets more knowledge of pitchers and more confidence, you’re going to see him stealing over 50 or 60 bags a year. His defense is remarkable, he covers more ground than anyone in centerfield and has made some ridiculous catches. However, all of this is not enogh to put him in front of the leader of the rookies,
1. J.A. Happ
The left handed young star of the Philadelphia Phillies has been ridiculous in 2009. He’s been with the team all year, but started the season in the bullpen. On May 13, he moved to the rotation and has been there ever since. He’s logged 149.2 innings this year and has a season ERA of 2.77, which is the 5th best ERA for starters in the National League. Happ has a 6.3 SO/9 rate and an impressive 2.00 K/BB ratio. He has won 10 games for the Phillies and is just another reason that the Phillies are cruising a top of the East division and putting them as a favorite for the World Series again this year. 2009 isn’t the first year Happ’s been in the majors, but it’s the first year he’s qualified for the league leaders, so it’s known as his rookie year. In 2007, Happ logged 4 innings (in 1 start), and in 2008 he got 31.2 innings (4 starts, 4 relief appearances). He’s been awesome for the Phillies and has a bright future ahead of him.
All that said, I wouldn’t mind seeing Happ get beat up a couple times in the last month of the season, raise that ERA a run or so… I really want McCutchen to win this award.