LIghtning round: Rookie of the Year (cont.)
1. Mike Trout, CF, Angels (1)
Season Stats: .330/.394/.563, 25 HR, 75 RBI, 108 R, 44 SB
Last Week: 6-for-30 (.200), 0 XBH, 4 BB, 3 SB, 6 R
Mike Trout will be the unanimous and deserving winner of the 2012 American League Rookie of the Year award. Put it in ink. This race is over.
2. Yoenis Cespedes, LF, A's (2)
Season Stats: .290/.348/.481, 16 HR, 65 RBI, 14 SB
Last Week: 6-for-30 (.200), 0 XBH, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 2 SB, 5 R
Cespedes has started all but two of the A's games in the second half and appeared in all but one of them, helping to quiet those who were eager to label him injury-prone after his intermittent attendance in the first half. He has quieted significantly since his surge immediately following the All-Star break, however, hitting a mere .258/.321/.367 with two home runs since the calendar flipped to August, thereby eliminating the only feasible challenge Trout might have faced for this award.
3. Scott Diamond, LHP, Twins (3)
Season Stats: 11-6, 3.35 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 4.9 K/9, 3.35 K/BB, 6.5 IP/GS, 1 SHO, 121 ERA+
Last Week: 1 GS: 5 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 4 K, 0 HR, W
After Trout and Cespedes the American League rookie field is thick with starting pitchers who have turned in fairly pedestrian performances. Of the six who qualify for the ERA title, Diamond leads the pack in innings per start (just barely over Yu Darvish) and is the only one to have an ERA+ more than 10 points above average. Diamond actually ranks eighth among all AL pitchers in ERA, though it's worth noting that the 26-year-old has posted a 3.84 mark outside of his friendly home ballpark and has thrown just 87 percent as many innings as AL rookie leader Wei-Yin Chen.
1. Wade Miley, LHP, Diamondbacks (1)
Season Stats: 14-9, 2.90 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 6.4 K/9, 3.90 K/BB, 6.5 IP/GS, 149 ERA+
Last Week: 1 GS: 6 2/3 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, ND
If I was still listing the top five candidates for the Cy Young award, Miley would make my National League list. He's is third in the majors in ERA+ (behind Cueto and Verlander), fifth in the NL actual ERA and his ERA for the season has never been higher than 3.13. He's in the top 10 in the league in WHIP, strikeout-to-walk ratio and wins, and fourth among NL pitchers in Baseball-References Wins Above Replacement (behind my three Cy Young candidates above). He might not be the unanimous winner of this award, but he should win it easily as he's not only been the league's top rookie, but one of its best pitchers, period.
2. Todd Frazier, UT, Reds (2)
Season Stats: .289/.347/.531, 18 HR, 62 RBI
Last Week: 5-for-24 (.208), 0 XBH, 1 BB
We still don't know how Joey Votto's return from the disabled list will impact Frazier's playing time. Votto was activated on Tuesday and played his first game since July on Wednesday night, going 2-for-3 with a walk. Frazier started at third base in that game and went 1-for-4, but that doesn't mean he's going to be the team's everyday third baseman. As it is, he doesn't qualify for the batting title. He's not going to win this award, but a cut in playing time combined with a hot Bryce Harper (.400/.471/.967 with five home runs in his last eight games, including two homers on Wednesday night) could lead to a lower finish.
3. Mike Fiers, RHP, Brewers (3)
Season Stats: 8-7, 3.11 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 9.1 K/9, 3.93 K/BB, 6.1 IP/GS, 134 ERA+
Last Week: 1 GS: 3 1/3 IP, 6 H, 6 R (4 ER), 4 BB, 4 K, L
Fiers has a 7.40 ERA over his last five starts, a stretch bookended by a pair of disaster outings in which he allowed a combined 14 runs (12 earned) in 5 1/3 innings. He had a couple of very strong outings in the middle of that run, but it looks like either the league or his workload (he has thrown 159 1/3 innings this year after a previous career high of 128 last year) is catching up to the 27-year-old righty. Still, his overall performance has been significantly above average, something that can't be said of many other rookies in the senior circuit this season.
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