|2012 AL Rookie of the Year Candidates||Tweet|
|Poulin No Foolin|
|Written by Fred Poulin|
|Wednesday, 26 September 2012 11:38|
With less than one week remaining to the 2012 regular season, it's time to have a look at the potential rookie of the year candidates. Earlier this month I analyzed the candidates for the National League, but now it's time to have a look at the American League.
Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels
Mike Trout is having such an extraordinary rookie season, one that has sent the Angels center fielder into a two-man race with Detroit's Miguel Cabrera for the American League most valuable player. Trout, who is only 21, enters Tuesday night's game with 28 home runs, 78 runs batted in, a league-leading 122 runs scored and 46 stolen bases, a .394 on-base percentage and a .554 slugging percentage.
Still, Trout is not perfect as he's struck out 128 times, second to slugger Mark Trumbo's 145 on the Angels, and the majority of those have come in his first at-bats and his first time facing relievers, when he has 43 strikeouts in 139 at-bats. The rookie slugger is getting better as the game progresses: he is hitting .292 in first at-bats, .361 in his second plate appearances and .394 his third time up during games. An adept of taking the first pitch of each at-bat, Trout is a very patient hitter who can hurt you in more ways than you can think.
In his first full season as a major league player, Trout has slowed down since his torrid July, when he hit .392 with 10 homers and 23 RBIs. He hit .284 with seven homers and 19 RBIs in August and is currently batting .256 with three homers and four RBIs in 21 games in September. However, the Angels had a 6-14 record the day he was promoted from triple-A and are 78-55 since.
Trout also has a major league-leading 10.4 wins-above-replacement (WAR) rating, which measures a player's overall value. Cabrera's 6.8 rating is second.
Yu Darvish, RHP, Texas Rangers
If it were not for Trout, Darvish would be a serious candidate to earn the ROY honour this season. The Japanese hurler has met the high expectations that were placed on him before the season. Darvish is boasting a impressive record of 16-9, with an ERA of 3.90 and 214 strike outs. He ranks second in the American League behind Max Scherzer with a K/9 of 10.44. Still, Darvish needs to cut down on his walks (88) to improve a mediocre WHIP of 1.27.
Darvish is 4-0 in his last five starts with a 1.42 ERA, and he has struck out 42 in 37 innings while walking only eight batters. Despite having never pitched in America before this season, Darvish has improved steadily this summer. He is working deeper into games, keeping his pitch count down, walking fewer batters and showing everyone what an "ace" looks like as October gets closer and closer and the Rangers need him desperately.
Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Oakland Athletics
While Cespedes has been fairly inconsistent most of the season, he has had a great rookie campaign nonetheless. Most pundits did not expect him to hit .290/.352/.493 in his first full season in the big league despite playing in the spacious Oakland Coliseum. To add more impact to his offensive numbers, only Mike Trout has more homers and RBI than Cespedes' 21 homers and 77 RBIs among rookies.
So far, the Cuban defector has given the A's and Billy Beane an excellent value for the money they are paying him. In 452 at-bats, the 26 year-old Cespedes has stolen 16 bases to go with 23 doubles and three triples, showing some speed on the base paths. To measure the impact of Cespedes on the A's, who currently own the AL's top Wild Card spot tied with the Baltimore Orioles and are two games ahead of the third-place Angels in West standings, Oakland is 72-46 with Cespedes in the lineup, and 12-22 without him.
Despite a difficult transition to North America (he is still trying to learn to speak English), Cespedes has an insatiable work ethic, as well as a superior baseball intelligence and a great attention to detail.
Jarrod Parker, RHP, Oakland Athletics
Another rookie player is having a very good season so far for the surprising A's. Parker has won two of his last three starts (with a no-decision) to push his record to 11-8 this season, lowering his ERA to 3.40 and his WHIP to 1.26 in 169 innings pitched. Parker has given up just two homers to right-handed batters all season.
After spending most of April at the triple-A level before being promoted to the majors, Parker has been an important part of the A's playoff run, especially with Bartolo Colon's suspension and Brandon McCarthy's injury.
Fangraph has Parker's wins-above-replacement (WAR) rating at 3.2, second only to Yu Darvish among AL rookie starting pitchers. With a few more starts and better run support, Parker, 23, would certainly make more noise in the ROY voting. If Parker can cut on his walks and increase his strike outs in anticipation of next year, he will be the #1 starter of the Athletics' rotation.
Ryan Cook, RHP, Oakland Athletics
Cook's season was in three acts: In the first act, it was good as Cook had a 1.34 ERA and was limiting opponents to a sparkly .107 batting average through his first 40 appearances while racking up 9 saves and 11 holds.
In the second act, it was bad. In eight appearances between mid-July and early August, Cook put together a 10.13 ERA and got shelled to the tune of a .361 opponents' batting average. In eight innings, he gave up four home runs.
In the last and deciding act, things are good again. Since mid-August, Cook has gone retro, allowing only two runs in 20 innings pitched. He has allowed zero home run, while walking only four batters and striking out 23 hitters.
For the season, Cook now has an excellent 2.23 ERA with a grandiose 0.95 WHIP in 66 appearances with six wins, 14 saves and 18 holds. He has also recorded 73 strike outs in 68.2 innings while muzzling the opposition to a sterling 1.62 batting average.
If we're pollin' Poulin, my choice would be Mike Trout as he's been the most dominant and consistent AL rookie so far this season, by far.
Fred is a bi-weekly contributor at DobberBaseball. You can find on Twitter @FredPoulin98.
Ken Landry said:
|Last Updated on Saturday, 29 September 2012 14:33|