In a blatant endeavor to inform the readers of my position as the low man on the totem pole, I have been assigned the task of attempting to determine the players most deserving of the Rookie of the Year Awards. Despite the insult, I have elected to comply. We'll be looking at NRAA and mOPS+ in order to draw our conclusions with regard to position players and will use WARP to compare them to pitchers. Also, we'll only be looking at position players with at least 250 total plate appearances.
Without taking into account games played, Jonny Gomes is the clear winner in the American League. Bartlett and Hill also managed positive NRAA's, but they aren't in the same league as Gomes. Marc mentioned in his MVP article that there is some need to adjust for DH's fielding stats, but Gomes played roughly half of his games in the field and lacks an outrageous Rate2, anyway. It doesn't look like much of a contest, but we'll take a look at it with adjustments made for playing time.
Our top seven remain the same and I think that we can easily label Gomes as the rookie position player of the year. I only expect arguments on that from people who bought into the hype of Robinson Cano. In an ideal world, that wouldn't be more than his immediate family, but we shall see.
Looking at the race through the lens of another Beyond the Boxscore stat, here are the top five based on mOPS+:
- Jonny Gomes 122
- Daniel Johnson 109
- Nick Swisher 105
- Tadahito Iguchi 104
- Robinson Cano 99
In our non-park adjusted, fielding-free look at the race, Gomes retains the top spot. It's not exactly close, either. Next up, the league that plays real baseball (no DH):
Anyone surprised to see Francoeur on top wasn't paying attention this year. Ryan Howard's rank of number two is also rather predictable. That Ryan Church ranks third is somewhat more interesting, though. I don't recall hearing much about him throughout the year. Based on NRAA, it would appear that Francoeur is the most deserving, but some might consider Howard's 18 extra games played or Church's 32 to be of some worth. It's possible to make an argument that given more playing time, Francoeur may have regressed toward some unknown mean below his current level of production.
Adjusting for games played vaults Church ahead of both Francoeur and Howard. However, the margin is small and I believe that the most compelling argument is still in favor of Francoeur. Still, all three could be considered reasonable choices. Here's how they look ranked by mOPS+:
- Ryan Howard 121
- Jeff Francoeur 113
- Ryan Church 109
- Victor Diaz 107
- Ryan Langerhans 106
Sal's metric seems to like Ryan Howard quite a bit. I don't think there's any debate that Howard was the best hitter, though. Francoeur's and Church's fielding are considerably better. I think both are more deserving than Howard.
Now, if only position players were eligible for the award (or if we were as lazy as Marc), we would be done.
In the AL, in particular, the rookie pitching class has at least one member who deserves consideration: Huston Street. Street's Park Adjusted Run Average of 1.95 is sick. He also has a 1.9 advantage in WARP1 over Gomes. I think it would be difficult not to give him the award. That said, it's difficult to compare the performance of a pitcher to that of a hitter. Both are deserving enough that it should bother no one should either of them win.
In the NL, only Pittsburgh's Zach Duke stands out. He has a 2.13 PK_RA and leads the three top position player rookis in WARP1 by a pretty decent margin. Much like with the AL, it wouldn't be that tough to swallow the victory of any of the four.