3 Candidates for NL Rookie of the Year.

Posted: 03/08/2012 by levcohen in Baseball

Over the next week or so i will be predicting MLB award leaders. Today is 3 candidates for NL ROY, and tomorrow will be the same for the AL:

There are 2 main things to look for when picking a ROY candidate; Ability and opportunity.

Bryce Harper, WAS OF:

Age: 19 years old

Ability: Harper has the best talent of any minor leaguer. He was picked #1 overall 2 years ago, and in his first season of professional baseball rapidly moved up the food chain. It is very rare for an 18 year old (Harper’s age throughout last season) to be in AA. Of course, this is Bryce Harper we are talking about. He has been compared to slugging Josh Hamilton, but without the substance addictions and injury problems. Here are Hamilton’s 162 game averages so far (due to his rehab, he only made the majors at the age of 26 so these stats are only for the 5 MLB seasons he has played:

622 AB, 192 H, 35 2B, 32 HR, 101 R, 117 RBI, .308 AVG, .366 OBP, .543 SLG, .909 OPS.

These are extremely good yearly stats, and Harper has a chance to better those eventually.

Take a look at this: http://releasepoints.com/2012/03/08/how-good-will-bryce-harper-become/   to see more about Harper.

Opportunity: Harper probably won’t make the Nationals 25 man roster at the start of the year, but you can expect him to be up in Washington playing RF sometime during the season. Jayson Werth currently mans RF, but the Nats could shift around their defense. Werth could move to CF, Roger Bernadina (the current CF) to left, and Michael Morse, the left fielder, could move to first base, because that is the Nationals weakest offensive position. Or they could simply play Harper in left and Morse at first. However, Harper still probably isn’t seasoned enough to make the majors until midway through the season.

Projection:

347 AB’s, 49 R, 12 HR, 42 RBI, 14 SB, .257 AVG, .313 OBP, .414 SLG, .727 OPS

Obviously not great stats, but good enough to compete for ROY.

Trevor Bauer, ARI SP:

Age: 21 years old

Ability: Bauer, the #3 pick of last years draft, is a prospect who went to college at UCLA. Bauer has a funky delivery and has frequently been compared to San Francisco ace Tim Lincecum. Like Harper, he moved up rapidly in his first year of pro baseball, reaching AA. On the comparison with Lincecum, they are linked by their delivery but also by their blazing speed and great secondary pitches. He is the unorthodox style of pitcher, in terms of workouts and pitching, and the type of player who will succeed in the MLB. Bauer said he has 19 (19!) different pitches that he feels comfortable to use, and was clocked at nearly 103 MPH on a fastball. Lincecum’s fastest pitch was 101. This is a huge difference. So maybe we could expect similar numbers to Lincecum, who’s 162 game numbers are as follows;

15-9, 2.98 ERA, 246 K’s, 1.19 WHIP.

Of course, Lincy won back to back Cy Young’s and has been top 10 in the CY Young voting in the last 4 years, so this is probably too optimistic. He does have this kind of potential though.

Opportunity: Bauer could push for the starting rotation by mid to late June, easily enough time to put up some stats. The D’backs current rotation is as follows:

1. Ian Kennedy
2. Daniel Hudson
3. Trevor Cahill
4. Joe Saunders
5. Josh Collmenter

He also has to contend with another top pitching prospect in Tyler Skaggs. This rotation will look nasty in a few years, with Kennedy (27), Hudson (24), and Cahill (24) yet to reach their prime. As for this year, Bauer has more potential than Skaggs, so will probably pass Collmenter (and Saunders) first, but since he hasn’t pitched at AAA that might not be for awhile.

Projection:

121 IP, 4.12 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 127 K, 7-5 record.

Again, not great stats but certainly good for someone who got drafted in 2011.

Tyler Pastornicky ATL SS + Zack Cozart, CIN SS

Ok. I cheated. But I think these two guys have a lot in common:

Ages: 22 and 26

Both have decent skills, but the reason they are on here is because of opportunity. Both are on contending teams and have slightly above average fielding. Both have decent hitting. Let me give projections for each:

Pastornicky: 491 AB, 59 R, 7 HR, 51 RBI, 27 SB, .261 AVG, .316 OBP, .345 SLG, .661 OPS

Cozart: 452 AB, 68 R, 14 HR, 59 RBI, 14 SB, .276 AVG, .319 OBP, .403 SLG, .722 OPS

From these projections it looks like Cozart has the edge, which is expected as he is 4 years older. The higher run totals are because he will hit higher in the lineup, and he should hit for a better average. However, Pastornicky should even up Cozart in RBI, and he will steal a lot more bases. Cozart still picks up the edge though.

The 3 choices are Harper, Cozart, Bauer

Harper is here because he has by far the best talent

Bauer is a polished college pitcher but will have to pass a couple of pitchers on the depth chart

Cozart has the most opportunity but the least skill of the 3

 

The winner is Cozart, because of his opportunity. I would rate them in this order:

1. Cozart

2. Bauer

3. Harper

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