Over the last couple of weeks, I've taken a look at how the races in the Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Awards are shaping up in both the American and National League.
Today I'll take a look the races in the final major award in baseball, that being the Rookie of the Year Award.
Let's first start in the National League:
Milwaukee's Ryan Braun leads all National League rookies in VORP and by a pretty large margin of nearly 15 runs.
On the season he's hitting a ridiculous .348/.382/.666 and has 22 home runs in less than 300 AB's. I've said it before and I'll say it again: If Braun started the season as the Brewers' everyday third baseman and hit anywhere near the level he's hitting now, he'd be a legitimate MVP candidate.
He gets my vote, despite the fact Troy Tulowitzki has been nearly two wins better according to WARP1. I suspect most of this has to do with the aspect of playing time; Tulo has more than 160 PA's under his belt than Braun does.
Had Hunter Pence avoided his DL stint, which is nearing a month now, he'd probably be in the mix too.
Let's move over to the American League:
How about the season Jeremy Guthrie has been having?
PECOTA projected a VORP of 0.7 runs and an ERA of 5.48 in 55.0 innings pitched from Guthrie to begin the year and he's clearly performed well beyond expectations.
His VORP of 32.0 runs is second among A.L. rookies and he's pitched 138.2 innings yielding a 3.50 ERA.
Unfortunately for him, he pitches in the same league as Daisuke Matsuzaka who leads A.L. rookies in both VORP and WARP1.
I've heard compelling arguments in the past regarding former Japanese league players eligibility for the award. Some simply believe guys like Matsuzaka, who have had plenty of experience playing in Japan, should not be eligible due to the fact they're not really "rookies."
Whether or not you agree with that notion is another story (I personally don't agree with that logic) and given the fact both Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui have won the award in the past, there is no reason to believe Daisuke doesn't have a strong chance at reeling this one in.
Matsuzaka gets my vote in the A.L.