BBWAA Awards Week kicks off with the Rookies of the Year

Norm Hall

Unlike last year, there isn't a Diamondback with a chance of winning Rookie of the Year. Which means I'm in the "anyone but Puig" line. How have Arizona done in this award previously? Will A.J. Pollock be mentioned?

Thought it might be interesting to list all the Diamondbacks who have received votes in the Rookie of the Year award voting, since we began in 1998. Below is a list showing the player, the points obtained, their ranking and the bWAR obtained that season. Beginning this year, points will no longer be strictly comparable, since there's now one less team in the National League, meaning two fewer votes. Still, I guess I can switch to using share instead of that...

Year Player Ranking Points bWAR
1998 Travis Lee 3rd 21 1.0
2003 Brandon Webb 3rd 73 6.2
2007 Chris Young 4th 10 0.7
2009 Gerardo Parra =8th 1 0.2
2011 Josh Collmenter 5th 5 1.9
2012 Wade Miley 2nd 105 3.5

I'm still pissed about Webb's position. :) The bar for rookies to get mentioned is generally a good deal lower than for MVP, simply because there's a much smaller pool of candidates from which to draw. Of the 204 players to reach 400+ PAs in the majors this season, only a dozen were rookies. The mere fact that you're playing everyday in the major leagues is kinda impressive by itself, but that's often a result of unforeseen circumstances. For example, the Diamondbacks were the only team to have two of those dozen rookies, in Didi Gregorius and A.J. Pollock, but it's quite likely that they wouldn't have reached the mark, save for injuries to those ahead of them.

Here are the top 10 rookies, as measured by bWAR, in the National League this season:

  1. Jose Fernandez (MIA, age 20), 6.3: 12-6, 2.19 ERA
  2. Yasiel Puig (LAD, age 22), 5.0: .319/.391/.534 = .925 OPS
  3. Nolan Arenado (COL, age 22), 3.9: .267/.301/.405 = .706 OPS
  4. Juan Lagares (NYM, age 24), 3.7: .242/.281/.352 = .633 OPS
  5. A.J. Pollock (ARI, age 25), 3.5: .269/.322/.409 = .730 OPS
  6. Shelby Miller (STL, age 22), 3.4: 15-9, 3.06 ERA
  7. Hyun-Jun Ryu (LAD, age 26), 3.3: 14-8, 3.00 ERA
  8. Julio Teheran (ATL, age 22), 3.2: 14-8, 3.20 ERA
  9. Tony Cingrani (CIN, age 22), 2.2: 7-5, 2.92 ERA
    Jedd Gyorko (SDP, age 23), 2.2: .249/.301/.444 = .745 OPS

While it certainly feels like this year's battle will be a two-man contest between Fernandex and Puig, it's possible Pollock might get a token mention at the back of someone's ballot, which would be well deserved. The other thing which stands out is how far superior the National League crop of rookies was to the American League, at least by bWAR. The top rookie in the AL was the Royals' David Lough (.286/.311/.413 = .724 OPS), but he only managed 2.7 bWAR. There were eight National League rookies this season, who were more valuable to their teams than that.

The award winners will be announced on the MLB Network tonight, in a show beginning at 4pm. Fingers crossed Pollock becomes the seventh Diamondback to receive recognition by the BBWAA, even if it proves to be of the more token kind.

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