Poll: The American League’s top rookie for the first half

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This year’s crop of American League rookies is impressive, yet distinctive, diverse group. Some may take issue with a couple of the players I have listed for one reason. They feel they’re not actually “rookies” having played in another “professional” league in another country. (Yep. Big hint there…)

Take that for what you will.

So when the BBWAA votes for their AL Rookie of the Year, the ballot will list three names. My twist: I have four nominees. Normally, I would go with only three, but I simply couldn’t come to grips with dropping any one of the four I have listed. When you see my list, hopefully you’ll know why I couldn’t drop one of them for a conventional three, but I feel good about having four here.

The hardest thing about doing any Rookie of the Year-type voting is that you’re usually comparing position players to pitchers and vice versa. There are stats out there to aid you with this, but you still have a bit of mystery about your own vote.

As we’ve seen in RoY votes in the past, a team’s position within the standings has no bearing on the vote. Same applies to the four I have listed here.

Players are listed in alphabetical order.

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Tags: Brock Holt Dellin Betances Jose Abreu Masahiro Tanaka MLB

  • JR Carroll

    Springer no?

    • Aaron Somers

      Springer should be in the conversation, yes.

    • http://calltothepen.com/ Steve O.

      I don’t think Springer should. What has he done other than the home runs?

      • JR Carroll

        More RBI ‘s. More runs scored. Better defense than Holt. But like I said none of that matters bc Tanaka or Abreu will win it.

        • http://calltothepen.com/ Steve O.

          He’s done that in 15 more games and almost 60 more plate appearances though. Now consider where each is usually placed within their team’s batter order. Holt appears more as the Red Sox leadoff hitter. Springer has the privilege of hitting behind Jose Altuve. Who does Holt have to drive in? Most of the time it’s the 8th or 9th place hitter, if they can get on base. Big difference there. Which player would you expect to drive in more runs? Obviously it’s Springer.

          Defensively, as only a right fielder, Holt has a DRS of 6. Springer’s is -1. As for all the outfield positions, Holt stands at 5 and Springer is -2. Granted, Springer has played significantly more innings than Holt. I don’t think you can categorically state that Springer is better defensively.

  • JR Carroll

    I mean should guys who have played pro ball in their respective leagues be eligible? I mean neither Tanaka and Abreu are really “rookies” so to speak. How many innings are on that arm against “pro” hitting? How many ab’s does Abreu have against “pro” pitching? I get not every player in those leagues are major league level. A lot of top players are coming from both leagues. Better players than many of the bottom teams in the mlb. By that logic it’s Holt, Springer and Betances. Now which player has more of an impact of their team. Down to Holt and Springer then. Not to discredit what Betances is doing. He looks to be the replacement to Rivera. But how much worse off would the Yanks be without him… Not near the impact Holt or Springer. Then to stats you say? Well then

    • JR Carroll

      Roughly the same ab’s. Same errors. Though most of Springers came the first week he was up. Now the stats split. It’s really whatever you prefer. An on base machine with a high average who doesn’t strike out ( Holt) or the stud that is Springer. Yes low average. He does get on base at a good clip. We’re talking about a guy who came very….very close to 40/40 last year. Power, speed, and highlight real catch after highlight real catch. Hands down Springer in my mind but that only counts in the friendly confines of my own head. Tanaka and Abreu will end up with this award or which ever one plays the whole second half. If they both do then I feel Tanaka has the edge. Bigger contract. Bigger stage. Same big office politics. The Yanks won’t win the series just the ROY.

      • Aaron Somers

        Tanaka and Abreu are both eligible for the award, regardless of their careers outside the US before coming here. I’ll give you that Tanaka maybe shouldn’t qualify. The NPB has some tough competition, but rules are rules. That’s how Ichiro won ROY, despite the career he had in Japan before joining the Mariners.

        Abreu’s case is a little different as we still don’t really know much about the Cuban leagues. There’s less information available and it’s not like scouts can readily go and watch games there as they can in Japan.

  • Drew Jenkins

    Kevin Kiermaier at least deserves some consideration.