Posted by Matt Clapp | 8/05/2009 03:00:00 AM | Andrew McCutchen, Chicago Cubs, Colby Rasmus, Dexter Fowler, Gerardo Parra, J.A. Happ, Jake Fox, National League Rookie Of The Year, Randy Wells, Tommy Hanson
Cubs 26-year-old rookie Randy Wells continues to pitch tremendously. He's allowed just one run in his last two starts over 15 1/3 innings pitched. Up until these last two starts, everybody was talking about what a nice surprise he's been and all, but now, people(including myself) are using his name and National League Rookie of the Year in the same sentence.
I decided to take a look at him and his competition for Rookie of the Year, to see just how good his chances are. There's of course two months left in the season and a lot can change, but these are pretty much all of the players that deserve at least some sort of Rookie of the Year consideration at this point...
Randy Wells, SP, Chicago Cubs: 8-4, 2.73 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 65 K, 23 BB, 102.1 IP.
Case For: He has wins in eight of his last nine starts. Really, he should have at least a few more wins and a loss or two less. In his first six starts, he never allowed more than three earned runs(which he only did once), and never got a win. He hasn't allowed over four earned runs in his 16 starts, 12 of which were "quality starts".
Since entering the rotation, he's been the Cubs' most consistent starting pitcher, and one of the best starting pitchers in the National League. Pitching in such a big market and for a popular team nationally, along with dominating on an ESPN national telecast on Monday help his chances.
Case Against: As I said, he should have a better record, but not everybody on the BBWAA(Baseball Writers Association of America) will realize that. And many put more into W-L record than they should. He also wasn't a hyped prospect at all, and isn't the flashy 95 mph type that some fans tune in to see. Some think he's a fluke and won't be able to get by below-average stuff for much longer.
J.A. Happ, SP, Philadelphia Phillies: 7-2, 2.97 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 76 K, 35 BB, 106 IP.
Case For: Very impressive left-hander that many around baseball are talking about. A terrific 2.97 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 13 starts. 9 of the 13 starts are Quality Starts. He pitched in 12 games out of the bullpen before stepping into the rotation, and had a 2.49 ERA as a reliever.
Until the Cliff Lee trade, he was the most reliable arm in the Phillies' rotation this year with Cole Hamels strugling, and has played a big part in the Phillies having a five-game lead in the NL East. He also got a lot of publicity as being one of the players the Phillies wouldn't give up in a Roy Halladay trade, and pitched three innings in the playoffs last season, so the voters are well aware of who he is.
Case Against: He'll likely need to get into double-digit wins and has only two months to get three more. The Phillies also might want to be careful with him the rest of the way, as they should be in good shape in the NL East and will need his arm in October.
Tommy Hanson, SP, Atlanta Braves: 5-2, 3.25 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 41 K, 26 BB, 61 IP.
Case For: The 22-year-old is probably the most hyped pitching prospect this season and people have paid close attention to him. Great power arm with electric stuff. In a few years when we look back, many think he'll be the best starting pitcher from this rookie class. He has solid numbers across the board, and had a four-game stretch where he allowed just three earned runs over 24.1 innings pitched.
Case Against: He didn't get called up until June and has only ten starts. Unlike Wells and Happ, he's not pitching for a first place team, and while his numbers have been very good, Wells and Happ are better thus far in many categories.
Dan Meyer, RP, Florida Marlins: 2-1, 2.21 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 37 K, 13 BB, 14 Holds, 2 Saves, 4o.2 IP.
Case For: The 28-year-old left-hander is having a great season out of the bullpen for the Marlins. He's allowed just a .193 batting average and .577 OPS. What's been even more impressive is what he's done against right-handers, allowing just a .160 batting average and .460 OPS in 75 at bats.
Case Against: For one, it's possible over half of the BBWAA writers even know who he is. as he's a middle reliever pitching for the Florida Marlins, a team nobody even in that state watches. And while he's been great, you better be a special middle reliever to have any sort of chance for this award.
Alberto Arias, RP, Houston Astros: 2-1, 2.27 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 35 K, 17 BB, 9 Holds, 39.2 IP.
Case For: The Astros' right-hander has nasty stuff, and has been dominating at times this year. He was particularly incredible during a span that he threw 26 straight innings without allowing an earned run.
Case Against: Like I said with Meyer, it's tough for a middle reliever to get votes for this award. Arias' stuff and great streak definitely caught the eye of many, but it won't be enough.
Ronald Belisario, RP, Los Angeles Dodgers: 1-3, 2.42 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 46 K, 20 BB, 10 Holds, 48.1 IP.
Case For: He's been out with inflammation his elbow for about a month, so those outstanding numbers could look even better. He's been a big reason the Dodgers have had one of the best late-inning bullpens in baseball, and has 10 holds. He's averaging 8.57 strikeouts per nine innings pitched, and is holding hitters to a .209 batting average and .572 OPS.
Case Against: Same things I was saying about Meyer and Arias. He's also likely out a couple more weeks so he won't heave much time to help his chances.
Andrew McCutchen, CF, Pittsburgh Pirates: .291 AVG, 66 H, 7 HR, 32 RBI, 9 SB, .351 OBP, .491 SLG, .842 OPS, 226 AB.
Case For: He's already one of the most exciting players in the game. He has unbelievable speed that makes him very dangerous on the basepaths, and runs down everything in center field. He can also swing the bat and for power, as we saw last week when he hit three homers in a game. Everybody loves watching this guy play and he's already the best player on the Pirates.
Case Against: He plays on the Pirates. You usually have to be pretty damn good to win the awards in baseball playing on a last place team, but hey, McCutchen appears to be. Not being up until June hurt his chances, as he's only played in 53 games. He'll be starting and leading off in about every game the rest of the way though, so he should have enough at bats.
Colby Rasmus, CF, St. Louis Cardinals: 251 AVG, 78 H, 11 HR, 35 RBI, 1 SB, .308 OBP, .424 SLG, .732 OPS, 311 AB.
Case For: One of the few rookies that's been a contributor since the beginning of the season. He's having a solid year for the surprising first place Cardinals. He's played very well in center field and has 31 extra-base hits. Baseball America ranked him the #3 prospect in baseball before the season, and he's been a very hyped prospect for a few years. Most of the BBWAA members knew of him before he even played a game for the Cardinals because of that.
Case Against: He was terrific in June when he hit .333, with a 2 homers, and a .869 OPS in 84 at bats. However, he's been bad every other month: .662 OPS in April, .703 OPS in May, and a .688 OPS in July. He's 0 for 4 to start out August as well. Overall, his numbers look alright but undeserving of the award at the moment.
Dexter Fowler, CF, Colorado Rockies: .256 AVG, 83 H, 4 HR, 29 RBI, 24 SB, .358 OBP,
.392 SLG, .750 OPS, 324 AB.
Case For: Similar to McCutchen, in that he's an exciting talent that covers a ton of range in center field and is batting leadoff for his team, the NL Wild Card-leading Rockies. He's gotten on base at a .358 clip and has 24 stolen bases. Those two things have played a big part in him scoring 47 runs on the year.
Case Against: Not much in the power department yet, and if that's the case, you need a higher batting average than .256 to please many of these voters, even though he's getting on base a lot.
Gerardo Parra, LF, Arizona Diamondbacks: .280 AVG, 78 H, 5 HR, 41 RBI, 4 SB, .319 OBP, .423 SLG, .742 OPS, 279 AB.
Case For: The 22-year-old has been absolutely clutch this year for the Diamondbacks, getting a bunch of hits in crucial situations. With none on, he's just a .210 hitter with a .589 OPS in 157 at bats. With runners on though, he's batting .376 with a .963 OPS and 38 RBI in 117 at bats. With runners in scoring position, he's hitting .397 with a 1.115 OPS and 33 RBI in 63 at bats.
Case Against: The team he's on doesn't help, and his on-base percentage only being 39 points higher than his batting average won't be good enough for many of the voters with a sabermetrics viewpoint.
Chris Coghlan, LF, Florida Marlins: .265 AVG, 69 H, 5 HR, 21 RBI, 5 SB, .347 OBP, .388 SLG, .735 OPS, 260 AB.
Case For: Everyday player for a Marlins team that is four games over .500. He's been a solid player that's done a lot of things well.
Case Against: Nothing really sticks out in his game. He's definitely behind at least McCutchen, Rasmus, and Fowler for rookie outfielders right now.
Omir Santos, C, New York Mets: .273 AVG, 53 H, 6 HR, 28 RBI, 0 SB, .310 OBP, .428 SLG, .737 OPS, 194 AB.
Case For: Geovany Soto, a catcher, won the Rookie of the Year last season. He's been one of the few bright spots for the Mets offensively. Heck, he has only one less home run than his superstar teammate, David Wright.
Case Against: He's not going to get enough at bats and his statistics are solid but not great anywhere. And he's a backup catcher.
Casey McGehee, IF, Milwaukee Brewers: .323 AVG, 60 H, 9 HR, 34 RBI, 0 SB, .373 OBP, .538 SLG, .910 OPS, 186 AB.
Case For: McGehee has been a huge surprise for the Brewers. He's drilling the ball and given them some nice offensive production at second base with Rickie Weeks lost for the season. The .323 batting average and .910 OPS will catch the eyes of the voters, as well as the 9 homers in just 186 at bats.
Case Against: Only 186 at bats and not an everyday player. While he's been solid defensively at second base, he's been brutal at third base, with an .884 fielding percentage in 28 games there.
Jake Fox, IF/OF, Chicago Cubs: .300 AVG, 33 H, 8 HR, 27 RBI, .344 OBP, .591 SLG, .935 OPS, 110 AB.
Case For: Got his name out there by leading the entire minor leagues in the triple crown categories(batting average, home runs, runs batted in) at Iowa this season. Then he came up to the Cubs in May and didn't stop hitting. He has tremendous power and has 16 extra-base hits in just 110 at bats. He's been a great RBI guy and has a 1.003 OPS with runners on base.
Case Against: Not enough at bats and it's unlikely he'll be an everyday player anytime soon with his inability to really handle any position well defensively. And if there's a Rookie of the Year from the Cubs, it's going to be Wells.
Garrett Jones, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates: .312 AVG, 34 H, 10 HR, 17 RBI, .380 OBP, .679 SLG, 1.059 OPS, 109 AB.
Case For: His first game of the season was on July 1st. He already has 10 homers. He's just absolutely crushing the ball and his incredible stretch that came out of nowhere is getting national attention.
Case Against: It's just 109 at bats so far, he's already 28, and hasn't ever been considered much of a prospect. He's also batting just .146 with runners on and .095 with runners in scoring position. Nine of his homers have been solo shots.
Looking at what he's done compared to the competition, Randy Wells indeed has a great shot at winning the National League Rookie of the Year award. Right now I think it's basically a coin flip between him and J.A. Happ. However, McCutchen is making a late charge and odds are about every voter is a fan of his.
Regardless, Wells is having a superb season and there's no way the Cubs are anywhere close to being tied for first place right now without him. There's no Cubs pitcher I'd rather have on the mound right now. There's no other Cubs player's uniform kids should be buying from the Halloween costume store to go trick or treating this Halloween... even if they wear plus size costumes. That's how good he's been!
But seriously, if the playoffs started today and the Cubs were somehow in, I think he might be starting game two or three. He'd rather have that opportunity than this award.
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