Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Where are all the AL ROYs?
By Jason Catania
The National League Rookie of the Year race is shaping up rather well, what with Shelby Miller, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Julio Teheran and Jose Fernandez, among others, on the pitching side, and Yasiel Puig, Jedd Gyorko, Evan Gattis, Nolan Arenado and Didi Gregorius on the hitting side. The American League ROY, on the other hand? Not such a pretty picture.
While there are six hitters and five pitchers with at least 1.0 wins above replacement (per FanGraphs) in the NL, the AL is lagging behind.
Only three first-year hitters have a WAR of 1.0 or more, and just one AL rookie arm can make that claim.
Those four aren't exactly household names, either: infielder Jose Iglesias of the Boston Red Sox, catcher Yan Gomes of the Cleveland Indians, outfielder Brandon Barnes of the Houston Astros and right-hander Dan Straily of the Oakland Athletics.
To be sure, there are some other interesting names in the AL, like Seattle Mariners second baseman Nick Franklin, Indians reliever Cody Allen and Rangers starters Justin Grimm and Nick Tepesch. But none of those feel like Rookies of the Year, do they?
It doesn't help that two youngsters who made their teams' Opening Day rosters, Aaron Hicks of the Minnesota Twins and Jackie Bradley Jr. of the Red Sox, haven't fared well.
Among stud prospects who have seen action in the majors this season, one name to keep close eye on here is Jurickson Profar of the Rangers, who is expected to stay with the club in a utility role even with Ian Kinsler back from the disabled list.
It'll be interesting to see how just-promoted Wil Myers of the Tampa Bay Rays fares as he enters the race. While it would seem he's behind the eight ball given that he's just getting started two-and-a-half months into the season, the power-hitting outfielder could stake a legitimate claim to the award with a few hot months, especially given the dearth of worthy rooks in the AL this year.
This is underscored by ESPN Insider Jim Bowden's latest ranking of the top rookie performers so far in 2013. Among Bowden's top 15, only -- count 'em -- one is an ALer.