The AL Rookie of the Year Favorites

The Favorites:
1. Brett Anderson, LHP, Oakland
Anderson holds the narrow edge over Romero is K/9 with 7.25, good for 18th in the league for pitchers with more than 90 innings pitched. Anderson has the 12th lowest FIP in the AL at 3.91, six spots ahead of Bergesen. The southpaw also has the second lowest line-drive rate in the AL, four spots head of Porcello.

2. Elvis Andrus, SS, Texas
Andrus and Brett Gardner are tied for 12th in the league in steals with 20. Among AL shortstops, Andrus leads in UZR and range factor.

3. Brad Bergesen, RHP, Baltimore
Bergesen is 12th in the league in BB/9 (90 IP+), five spots ahead of Anderson. He’s also 12th in the league in HR/9 at 0.80, five spots ahead of Niemann.

4. Gordon Beckham, 3B, Chicago
Beckham leads rookies in batting average (200 PA minimum) but is just 35th in the league. He also has the highest BABIP for rookies at .331, 26th in the league. Defensively, UZR doesn’t like Beckham, but he has shown good range.

5. Andrew Bailey, RHP, Oakland
Bailey is seventh in the AL in saves with 17 (40 IP+). He’s also eighth amongst all AL relievers in K/9 with a rate of 10.13. The right-hander is helped by a low .249 BABIP.

Watch Out For:
Matt Wieters, C, Baltimore
He had a slow start to his MLB career, but this promising catcher is really playing well now… It remains to be seen, though, if he can catch up to all of the rookies above.

Nolan Reimold, LF, Baltimore
Reimold is tops in BB% at 11.5%, but that is good for just 34th in the league. No rookie is amongst the top 35 hitters in OPS, ISO or wOBA. Defensively, he’s one of the worst left fielders in the AL.

Ricky Romero, LHP, Toronto
Romero is often the second or third best rookie pitcher in any one of the categories, including K/9 and GB%.

Rick Porcello, RHP, Detroit
Porcello has the highest ground-ball rate in the American League at 56%, two spots ahead of Romero, five spots ahead of Bergesen and seven spots ahead of Anderson.

Jeff Niemann, RHP, Tampa Bay
Niemann has the 14th lowest batting-average-allowed in the league, four spots ahead of Romero.




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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospect analysis. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.


39 Responses to “The AL Rookie of the Year Favorites”

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  1. Alex says:

    Brett Gardner?

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  2. Mark says:

    These aren’t favourites. They’re who deserve to win. Big difference when dealing with the MLB awards.

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  3. Jed MC says:

    Are you ranking this on how you think the actual voters would place them as the stats stand today? Or is it based on you rank them?

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  4. part-time pariah says:

    beckham, ftw.

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  5. Mark says:

    LOL at the unavailability of any Yankee or Red Sox options.

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  6. Alex says:

    I guess I’ll make the case for Gardner then.

    You mention him in here as being tied with Elvis Andrus with 20 steals. He’s also only been caught 5 times, so he’s a tremendous asset on the bases. He’s got an above average wOBA of .345. He plays tremendous deffense in CF, with the second highest UZR among AL CF, fourth best in the bigs. He has been 20.4 RAR this year, which is one par with Andrus and Nieman, and better than Bergesen, Beckham, Bailey, Wieters, Reimold, Romero. I don’t see how this guy doesn’t at least get considered for the award. Is he not a rookie? Because he seems to be a rookie from what I can tell, and if he is, he should probably win the award, or at least get consideration.

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    • Mark says:

      *GROAN.* Please stop your chattering. He’s not eligible anyway.

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      • Not David says:

        Are you sure he’s not eligible? Coming into the season he had 127 AB’s and what appears (by my likely incorrect math) to be 44 days of non-September service time.

        Can someone clarify?

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      • Alex says:

        Baseball Prospectus lists him as a rookie and I do not see him passing any of the rookie benchmarks last year. Again, I could be wrong, but I’m going to trust BP on this one, and I had thought of him as a rookie coming into the year anyway.

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    • PL says:

      Just because a player plays on your favorite team and is a rookie doesnt mean he has a chance at the award. Gardner is a “tremendous asset on the bases” with 15 net steals on the year? Seems more like “somewhat decent” or “pretty okay” not “tremendous”.

      Your use of hyperbole is not apt! NOT APT!!!

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  7. AndrewYF says:

    If Gardner did that in more playing time, he’d have an argument. But the guy only has, what, 200 PA?

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    • Alex says:

      He has around 20 less PAs than Beckham, who is in fact on this list, and RAR indicates he’s been worth about twice as much, so I don’t see why he wouldn’t be in consideration.

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      • JD says:

        The difference is that Beckham doesn’t have the PA because he was in the minors for a month or two. Since then, he’s played everyday.

        Voters have to weight everyday players over bench/platoon players, don’t they?

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      • Rob in CT says:

        It’s been a mixture of platooning and of course his broken thumb. He’d have more PA if not for the injury (especially since Melky’s been bad lately). Whatever the reason, he’s lacking in the PA department.

        I agree a player who is protected via platooning should take a hit for it. I don’t know how much, though. In this case, it’s not important since even if Gardner warrants a mention he’s not going to come close to the award.

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  8. Adam D says:

    if this wasn’t Rookie of the Year and was instead Most Valuable Rookie (i.e., evaluated based on the same categories as MVP, such as club record), then Andrus would be extremely hard to argue against. he has been a major cog in turning a franchise around, electrifying the entire Ballpark with his style of play and attitude. as a rookie, he’s as good defensively as any in the game right now. if he played in NY or Boston, it probably wouldn’t be a race any more with the amount of media fawning he would get.

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    • Hrdcorefan says:

      I’m in awe of his defense every game I have seen this year! Like you stated, anywhere else and he would be in every highlight package for that game.

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  9. joe says:

    130 AB, 50 IP, or 45 days on the roster before september.

    In other words, Gardner cant get it, stop.

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    • Not David says:

      Gardner had 127 AB’s last year.

      He had 72 days of service (per Cot’s) last year, 28 of which came in September, 72 – 28 = 44.

      127 < 130 and 44 < 45 = still a rookie, no?

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    • Alex says:

      Stop what? I’m curios as to exactly why he is not getting consideration for this award. He IS eligible.

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  10. big black nigga says:

    yeah mothafucka! that fuckin bitch is eligible! stop being an ignorant ass crack about this shit before you get punched in the grill.

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  11. Paulie L. says:

    Brett Anderson doesn’t have a chance. Nobody is going to vote for a pitcher with a losing record and an ERA over 4.5 on one of the worst teams in the AL. Sorry, but the voters are not looking at FIP. Same for Bergersen, he would have to be much more dominant on a last place team to get consideration. Andrus is nice, but he struggled in July and has attempted only 6 SB’s since June 30 and none since July 28. He is great defensively but lacks the bat right now with only 7 XBH since May. Brett Gardner isn’t even in the conversation. He hasn’t played since July 25 and might not be back until September.

    Here is why Beckham is the current favorite IMO. Last summer he was leading Georgia to the CWS championship game on the national stage and this year he is in the majors having great success, the voters will remember that. Beckham was a June call up and proceeded to struggle going 2 for his first 28. Since then? He hasn’t stopped hitting. He hit .330 with a .908 OPS in July and has hit a respectable .300 with an .890 OPS so far in August. From June 26 up until August 5, Beckham was leading the AL with a .380 AVG. He has been great in nationally televised games and he has had success against both good and bad pitching alike. In 5 national games on Fox, Beckham is hitting .429 (9 for 21) with 3 doubles and 9 RBI. Voters will remember that. UZR might not like Beckham, but the voters will realize that he never played 3B before his 8 appearances there in the minors this season. He is learning on the job.

    Here is what Derek Jeter had to say about Beckham during the Sox/Yanks series, posted Aug. 3 by Chris DeLuca of the Chicago Suntimes.

    “‘He’s playing well,” Jeter said. ”I got a chance to talk to him a little bit because he’s been on second base the whole series. He can hit, that’s the bottom line. You throw him in, he pulls it; you throw him away, he hits it the other way. It looks like he’s got some pop.

    ”He hasn’t been playing third base very long, but he’s been doing a good job there, too, so I’m sure he’s going to be here for a long time.””

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    • joser says:

      This isn’t about who “has a chance” or who is going to get votes. That’s already covered, excessively and redundantly, on every other major sports site/outlet/publication.

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  12. JD says:

    Brett Anderson is going to have to throw back-to-back-to-back no hitters or something to end up in even the top 5. I actually think Andrew Bailey will finish ahead of him as far as A’s players go, and Romero and Porcello will finish ahead of him, too, based on their current numbers.

    This award is Gordon Beckham’s to lose. He was awful his first couple weeks, but since then has gotten better and better. He might be just passable defensively, but he’s not a butcher at third so any inadequacies he has over there won’t hurt him in the eyes of the voters.

    If I had to guess, I’d say the voters will rank them Beckham, Romero, Porcello, Bailey, Andrus. I could also see Feliz getting a few votes if he helps Texas get into the playoffs.

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  13. CH says:

    ESPN is Yankee/Red Sox biased mostly, but they show every single thing Manny does, and did the same with Bonds. I don’t think east/west has as much to do with it as people think, it seems to be more of an “easy ratings boost” bias. They’ll show whatever they think will get non-fans to watch. They care about selling ad space to McDonald’s, not covering sports in an ethical or dignified manner.

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    • joser says:

      I agree, though the fact that ESPN headquarters sits almost exactly on the Red Sox / Yankees market borderline means that those are the fans ESPN workers encounter in every minute of their non-working lives. That’s got to distort their perception of reality whether they realize it or not. Ratings would trump that, but they can’t parse their rating data that finely (“if we show an Elvis defensive gem instead of a Manny homer, how does that affect our viewership?”) And they’re in a kind of self-perpetuating cycle anyway (Red Sox fans tune in to see Red Sox highlights, and Red Sox highlights create more bandwagon Red Sox fans. Cue Papelbon riverdance tease and… go to commercial!)

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  14. Michael says:

    Romero has been vital to the Jays staying near .500. And look at the Yanks 2nd starter, A.J. Burnett. He’s paid 16.5 m this year, and is 10-5 with a 3.71 ERA, 130 hits, 16 hrs. Jays second starter, Romero, 10-6, 3.70 ERA, 118 hits, 15 hrs, $400,000. Far better numbers than his counterparts.

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  15. jmet15 says:

    Elvis Andrus is my pick for top rookie of the year. His defense is amazing, he just turned 21 and this time last year he was in AA ball. Elvis has been a catalyst to the Rangers team all year. True if he played in New York or Boston he would be a hands down no-brainer pick. Just like Michael Young. If he played for the Yankees, whether he played second, short, or third, he would be a mega superstar. Look at how much fame Jeter has just because he is the Yankees shortstop. Jeter isn’t even the best shortstop on his team, that honor goes to AROD, but he is still considered the best because he plays for the Yankees.

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  16. BMK says:

    Porcello has regained some momentum – now 12-7 with quite a good August and start to September. He is arguably the #3 guy on a division leading team… highest ground ball rate in the majors amongst starters… I believe he is the youngest of those being talked about for the award (which doesn’t matter in terms of receiving the award but points to his above average maturity for his age)… I think he wins the award if he gets to 15 wins…

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  17. Mike says:

    Does Aceves of the Yankees has any chance? he leads all relief pitchers with 10 wins and has been a good (no idea if really good or just plain good) for the yankees anchoring part of their relief (along Hughes).

    M.

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  18. TheKid says:

    I think Bailey is the pick, especially now. His 25 saves are what … 20 more than any other rookie! Also a stellar 1.95 ERA and 9.79 Ks per 9 inn. As for Gardner and Aceveds … No way. Gardner has three homers and 23 RBIs, while Acevedes has a 3.72 ERA. Those numbers FAIL in comparison to other rookies … unless Acevedes picks up 10 more wins or Gardner raises his average to .350 in 12 games.

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  19. BigD says:

    Bailey is terrific and Gardner is an excellent player but how can you not vote for a pitcher with a 12-6 record, an era of 3.94 and 175+ innings, AS A ROOKIE!
    Jeff Niemann has to be the AL Rookie of the Year! Besides, he has a nasty Don Drysdale attitude when he’s on the mound.

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  20. Lonzona says:

    There is no way the Sportswriters who consider themselves baseball’s Gods will ever choose a small market team relief pitcher like Bailey as the ROY. In fact, no A’s player has a chance- same goes for Kansas City & Cleveland. In the minds of baseball’s elite, these teams are only fillers.

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  21. Uroxin says:

    Beltran won it with KC not too long ago, you know.

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  22. Isaac says:

    Funny seeing in retrospect how Bailey actually won the award….

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