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Three Rookies Under the Radar

With the likes of Stephen Strasburg, Jason Heyward, and Carlos Santana in the majors this season, I wanted to take a look at some rookies who have performed well under the radar in 2010.

OF Chris Heisey, Cincinnati Reds
2010 Debut: 5/3
2010 WAR: 0.9

Despite playing in just 39 games this season, Heisey has put up 0.9 WAR for the year, which would be worth 3.5 WAR over 150 games. At twenty-five, Heisey is a little older than some of the more hyped-up rookies, and his Triple-A numbers this year (.241/.307/.430) weren’t too pretty. He started 0 for his first 7 big league at-bats, striking out three times. However, Heisey has hit .271/.371/.542 for the entire campaign, good for a .386 wOBA. He’s also done well in the field with 3.1 runs saved (UZR) while playing all three outfield positions.

1B Gaby Sanchez, Florida Marlins
2010 Debut: 4/5
2010 WAR: 2.2

Sanchez, twenty-six years old, had two cups of coffee in the big leagues prior to 2010 totaling 31 plate appearances. However, he’s broken out in a big way this season as the Marlins’ regular first baseman by hitting .308/.376/.481; that’s a .379 wOBA and 137 wRC+. His .342 BABIP may be above his true talent level, but ZiPS still projects a .356 wOBA going forward. Sanchez has also played well in the field with 1.9 runs saved at first base.

3B David Freese, St. Louis Cardinals
2010 Debut: 4/5
2010 WAR: 1.4

Freese may be the most interesting prospect of the bunch. At twenty-seven years old, his relatively low .404 SLG this year is odd considering his minor league rate of .532. With a .361 OBP, that’s a .342 wOBA and a 115 wRC+. His .376 BABIP is generally unsustainable, and with a 7.8 BB%, his rate of getting on base may see a dip in the future. His defense has been slightly below average this year according to UZR, but his 1.4 WAR overall has to have the Cardinals happy.