As mentioned in the previous article, there were no shortage of rookies used by the D-backs this year: 27, shattering the previous high for a season of 19. But it’s a lot harder to say any of them had a particularly marked impact on the team’s performance. Only one reached even half a win by bWAR in the positive column, and the total value was -2.4 bWAR on the position player side, and -2.6 bWAR across the pitchers. Still, the award has to go somewhere - or not, since I did decide to add a ‘No award’ option to the poll. This was on the ballot last season, and has won before, in 2016 (Jake Barrett was deemed the best of the bad bunch that year), so there is precedent.
Thanks, as ever, to those who discussed candidates in the nominations thread. There is something to be said for making it an age-based award going forward, rather than perhaps adhering to strict MLB qualification. Something to think about for next year. Here are pen-pics of the five contenders, in alphabetical order. I’d normally put together a video highlight package for each, but the lockout has wiped MLB.com of all such embeddable material, so you’ll just have to cope with my words.
There’s little more that needs to be said, Gilbert having already won the Performance of the Year ‘Pittie for throwing a no-hitter in his first MLB start. Of course, it was all downhill after that, with a 4.61 ERA in the five subsequent starts, but all told, even his 4.27 FIP - more than a run above his ERA of 3.15 - was better than most. A few more strikeouts would be nice going forward, but no matter what happens, he’ll always be remembered for that magical night at Chase Field.
24-year-old McCarthy was a first-round pick by the Diamondbacks in 2018, and made an immediate impression after making his debut at the end of August. McCarthy led all position player rookies with 0.4 bWAR in just 70 PA. He started a dozen games in center field and six in right, becoming the youngest D-backs to start in CF since Socrates Brito in 2016. Nick Piecoro said of McCarthy, “He has played perhaps the best center field of anyone with the Diamondbacks this season.”
Peacock’s rubber arm proved a godsend to the D-backs on multiple occasions this year, beginning with his debut where he picked up the win with three innings in the pitching hell of Coors Field. In addition to his seven starts, he had a club-high 17 relief outings in which Peacock recorded six or more outs. No pitcher has had more of those for Arizona since Josh Collmenter (22) in 2013, and it was the most by a D-backs rookie since Oscar Villarreal (19) in 2003. Matt went 3-1 with a 3.07 ERA in those extended appearances.
As NikT77 mentioned, Perdomo is potentially the rookie most likely to claim an everyday roster spot next year, based on his 2021 performance. After a wobbly first spell in the majors, he went back to Double-A, where a light-bulb went on, and Perdomo hit .341 over his final 147 PA there. Getting recalled in late September, he continued to hit, going 7-for-21 with a .988 OPS down the stretch, and staking a position as our potential everyday shortstop for 2022, replacing Nick Ahmed.
Easily the most frequently used rookie, as mentioned previously, his 145 appearances was fourth-most for a rookie in team history. He started at least nine games at each outfield position, as well as 42 at first. He produced better as a starter, hitting .272/.334/.415 for a .749 OPS in that role, and there’s a case to be made that, if he been given a consistent position, this could have helped his performance as well. Defense weighed his overall value down heavily. I think it’s safe to say he’s not a CF, but it’s not his fault he was put there!
The form is below or here. As for most of the player-based categories, voting is open only to registered members of the SnakePit. Voting closes at midnight on Sunday, Arizona time.