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The NL Rookie of the Year Favorites

Posted By Marc Hulet On August 14, 2009 @ 1:30 pm In Welcome to the Majors | 39 Comments

The Favorites:
1. Randy Wells, RHP, Chicago
Wells is ninth in the league in lowest BB/9 at 2.09 BB/9 and second amongst rookies behind Josh Geer. Wells is also 20th in K/BB at 2.72, although he’s eight spots below Zimmermann. The Chicago righty is comfortably in the lead amongst rookies and 16th overall in lowest HR/9 at 0.75. Wells has the 17th lowest FIP in the NL at 3.72, while Happ is at 34th (with an ERA/FIP difference of -1.32).

2. J.A. Happ, LHP, Philadelphia
Happ is tops amongst (healthy) rookies in K/9 at 6.52 (minimum 90 IPs), but that is good for just 35th in the NL. Zimmermann (on his way to Tommy John surgery) was tops amongst rookies and ninth overall at 9.07 K/9. Happ is 10th in the league in lowest-average-allowed at .233, 12 spots ahead of Wells and 13 spots ahead of Kawakami. Happ is 10th in the NL in WHIP, followed directly by Wells in the 11th hole. Happ also has the fourth lowest BABIP allowed at .262 (Wells is at 15th).

3. Dexter Fowler, CF, Colorado
Fowler is 21st in the league with a BB% rate at 13.6 (minimum 200 plate appearances), 10 spots ahead of Ryan Hanigan (who also has the 12th lowest K% at 10.9%, and the fifth best BB/K). Fowler has the seventh highest BABIP in the NL at .365, while rookies Chris Dickerson and Parra come in next at 16th and 17th, respectively. Fowler has 10 stolen bases more than any other rookie with 26 total. He performs terribly in center field according to UZR, and is rated last in the league in that category.

4. Andrew McCutchen, CH, Pittsburgh
McCutchen is second in rookies in OPS at .834. He’s also second in slugging and third in batting average. He doesn’t stand out in any one offensive category right now, but he has good all-around numbers. McCutchen has shown the best range in center field amongst the rookies, although he has not fared well in UZR. Colby Rasmus leads rookie center fielders in that category by a wide margin.

5. Casey McGehee, UTL, Milwaukee
McGehee has the slight edge on batting average over Parra, but he also has about 100 fewer plate appearances. None of the rookies are amongst the leaders in average in the National League. McGehee is the only rookie with an ISO above .200 at .203. good for 32nd in the league. He is also first in rookies with an OPS of .864. Defensively, he’s been average-at-best at second base and quite below-average at third base.

Watch Out For:
Tommy Hanson, RHP, Atlanta
Hanson is hurt by his lack of innings, but he could make a run at the top spot with a solid month of September.

Kenshin Kawakami, RHP, Atlanta
This Japanese veteran is reliable and plugs along, but he doesn’t really deserve consideration for the award given his professional experience.

Jordan Zimmermann, RHP, Washington
If not for his injury, Zimmermann would be a favorite for the award given how well he’s pitched, based on numerous categories.

Chris Coghlan, LF, Florida
Like McCutchen, Coghlan has solid overall numbers, but does not stand out in any one area. Defensively, he has not performed well according to UZR.

Gerardo Parra, CF, Arizona
Parra leads rookies with eight triples, but has stolen just five bases in 10 attempts. His defensive play has been pretty average.


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