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2021 Rookie of the Year: Nominations open

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No shortage of eligible players, certainly. Good ones? Well...

Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

There were no less than 27 rookie eligible players used by the Diamondbacks this season, which blows away. Tunguska-style, the previous high for Arizona of 19 (most recently in 2016, also during the “Baby Backs” season of 2004). In fact, across the last century of baseball, that number has been surpassed just three times: the 1943 Athletics (then in Phillie) and the Marlins this season (not least due to their COVID woes) each used 28, and the 1998 Marlins set the all-time record with 29. For those of you on mobile, for whom the data below might not display so well, here’s the list.

Miguel Aguilar, Seth Beer, J.B. Bukauskas, Humberto Castellanos, Brett de Geus, Jon Duplantier, Drew Ellis, Stuart Fairchild, Seth Frankoff, Luis Frias, Tyler Gilbert, Jake Hager, Nick Heath, Domingo Leyba, Joe Mantiply, Corbin Martin, Wyatt Mathisen, Jake McCarthy, Humberto Mejia, Matt Peacock, Geraldo Perdomo, Sean Poppen, Henry Ramos, Brandyn Sittinger, Pavin Smith, Riley Smith and Andrew Young. A couple of notable names not present there - most obviously Daulton Varsho, who used up his rookie status last season. Let’s break the above down into hitters and pitchers, and show you their stats for 2021.

2021 rookie hitters

Name bWAR Age G PA HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Name bWAR Age G PA HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Seth Beer 0.1 24 5 10 1 3 1 3 .444 .500 .889 1.389
Drew Ellis -0.7 25 28 83 1 5 10 27 .130 .277 .203 .480
Stuart Fairchild 0.0 25 12 17 0 2 1 3 .133 .235 .200 .435
Jake Hager 0.1 28 9 22 0 2 4 11 .111 .273 .111 .384
Nick Heath -0.4 27 20 39 0 1 4 15 .143 .231 .171 .402
Domingo Leyba -0.5 25 13 24 0 0 2 7 .000 .083 .000 .083
Wyatt Mathisen -0.2 27 23 51 1 8 5 21 .119 .255 .190 .445
Jake McCarthy 0.4 23 24 70 2 4 8 23 .220 .333 .373 .706
Geraldo Perdomo 0.3 21 11 37 0 1 6 6 .258 .378 .419 .798
Henry Ramos -0.5 29 18 55 1 8 4 12 .200 .255 .300 .555
Pavin Smith -0.3 25 145 545 11 49 42 106 .267 .328 .404 .732
Andrew Young -0.7 27 58 104 6 15 6 45 .209 .298 .484 .782

It’s interesting to note that almost all of them will still have their rookie status intact for the 2022 campaign. Obviously Pavin Smith won’t, but of the rest, looks like Andrew Young is the only one not eligible next year. Smith certainly has the counting stats to qualify. His 145 games is fourth-most for a rookie in franchise history, behind Travis Lee (146, 1998), Chris Young (148, 2007) and Christian Walker (152, 2019). But his overall value does come in well below replacement level. Still, I’d imagine a nomination at least is in his future, due to such a high amount of playing time. Which of the others do you feel should make it onto the short list?

2021 rookie pitchers

Name WAR Age IP H R ER BB HR SO ERA FIP
Name WAR Age IP H R ER BB HR SO ERA FIP
Miguel Aguilar -0.1 29 7.0 6 6 5 4 0 3 6.43 4.03
J.B. Bukauskas -0.9 24 17.1 24 19 15 7 4 14 7.79 5.77
Humberto Castellanos 0.3 23 45.2 48 26 25 15 7 29 4.93 5.01
Brett de Geus -0.8 23 23.1 31 22 17 12 3 15 6.56 5.36
Jon Duplantier -0.8 26 13.0 19 19 19 8 5 12 13.15 8.63
Seth Frankoff -0.4 32 14.2 20 15 15 9 4 11 9.20 7.47
Luis Frias 0.1 23 3.1 2 1 1 5 0 3 2.70 5.87
Tyler Gilbert 1.2 27 40.0 28 17 14 13 4 25 3.15 4.27
Joe Mantiply 0.0 30 39.2 45 24 15 17 1 38 3.40 2.94
Corbin Martin -0.6 25 16.0 23 19 19 14 5 13 10.69 8.42
Humberto Mejia -0.4 24 22.1 32 19 18 9 5 20 7.25 5.50
Matt Peacock 0.3 27 86.1 107 55 47 28 13 50 4.90 4.98
Sean Poppen 0.0 27 17.1 20 11 9 7 1 21 4.67 3.05
Brandyn Sittinger -0.1 27 4.2 5 4 4 2 3 1 7.71 13.03
Riley Smith -0.4 26 67.1 86 46 45 15 10 36 6.01 4.88

Technically, there were 16 rookie pitchers used, but that number does include Wyatt Mathisen, who qualified on both sides of the line-up. I’ve not included his numbers here, though there can’t be many rookie eligible position players to pitch in a game: I suspect it’s an “honor” typically reserved for the veterans. Here, Matt Peacock leads the way in terms of workload, though of course, Tyler Gilbert seems likely to snag a nomination slot, and did have the best bWAR. I thought Brandyn Sittinger might deserve something for allowing more homers than all other hits combined, but turns out that’s quite common. Four other pitchers just this year allowed 3+ HR in five or fewer hits, like him.


As usual, we need to narrow the candidates down to five or thereabouts, for the final poll. This will be done largely on the basis of recs in the comments, though the decision of the judging committee i.e. me, will be final in this regard. Just identify the player in the subject line, and make your case in the body of the comment. If you agree with a choice already made, give it a rec. If you don’t see your choice, post a new comment. I will delete subsequent top-level comments about the same game. Poll to follow on Friday!