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.

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Pat Andriola is an Analyst at Bloomberg Sports who formerly worked in Major League Baseball's Labor Relations Department. You can contact him at Patrick.Andriola@tufts.edu or follow him on Twitter @tuftspat

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JoeS
Member

Soon as I saw the headline for this I thought to myself “Neil Walker!” but sadly..

GrtSm
Guest
GrtSm

Walker has been very surprising, but the three listed above are doing well on competitive teams, and STILL they hardly get talked about.

JoeS
Member

I agree. Walker hasn’t been a good fielder at all, which is keeping his WAR down. Gaby Sanchez gets talked about a pretty good amount, but only because he’s keeping Morrison in the minors.