CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (08/21)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Prospectus Today: Pick... (08/21)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Prospectus Today: And ... (08/26)
Next Article >>
UTK Wrap: Expansion (08/22)

August 22, 2008

Prospectus Today

Picking the AL and NL Rookie of the Year

by Joe Sheehan

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.

a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

I wasn't going to extend Award Week past Wednesday, but...

I was watching the White Sox/Mariners game today and, in the first inning, Alexei Ramirez hit a three-run shot, giving him 14 HRs for the year. He's also hitting .310 and slugging .484, third-best for AL second basemen. Everyone has been handing Evan Longoria the AL Rookie of the Year award already, and sure, he'll probably get it-but isn't there an argument for Ramirez?-R.P.


"Isn't there an argument" is a lot like "in the conversation," where it seems to mean, "You ignored my favorite player, you idiot!" If you want to have a conversation that encompasses all the rookies in the AL, sure, Alexei Ramirez is in it. If you're talking about the Rookie of the Year, then Longoria has Ramirez beaten, as do a number of other guys. A .328 OBP is a tough thing to overcome, and Ramirez, who does hit for power, backs that up with a 9-for-17 performance on the basepaths, and rough (if occasionally spectacular) defense at second base.

Longoria, however, shouldn't necessarily be considered a lock for the award. Here are the AL leaders in VORP among rookies, which isn't the final word, but shows that a number of guys are having good years.

Player               VORP
Evan Longoria        32.1
Armando Galarraga    30.0
Joba Chamberlain     27.2
Mike Aviles          25.9
Greg Smith           25.4
Brad Ziegler         24.4
Nick Blackburn       23.2
Jim Johnson          23.1
Alexei Ramirez       19.2
Justin Masterson     18.7

Longoria has superior defensive value to the other position players on this list, so much so that the VORP edge he has over Galarraga and Chamberlain doesn't completely tell the story. Longoria would be a perfectly reasonable pick for the AL Gold Glove award at third base, and should he take longer than expected to come back and not play much the rest of the way, or if his performance should slip in September, then Galarraga, Aviles, or even a healthy Chamberlain could pass him in value. Brad Ziegler could also conceivably be more deserving, in the unlikely event his RA stays below 1.00 through the end of the season. The shutout-innings-to-start-a-career thing is a nice hook.

With that said, it's unlikely than anyone but Chamberlain could steal the actual hardware in the voters' eyes, but Longoria's status as the AL's top rookie is not a foregone conclusion. He's the favorite, he'd be everyone's pick today, and he's a full win better (and probably more) than Alexei Ramirez.

In case you're wondering-I know I was-Jacoby Ellsbury is eighth among AL rookie position players with a 9.6 VORP. Throw in defense, and he's been worth a bit more than one win. Since his fantastic April, he's been terrible, hitting only .265/.315/.352, although with 19 net steals. Twenty unintentional walks in 374 PAs is completely unacceptable for a hitter of his type.

Over in the National League, there's a pretty fantastic race between 40 percent of the Braves' rotation and Geovany Soto. Soto has accumulated twice as much value over replacement (32.7) as the next-best NL rookie position player, Ian Stewart (15.9). Both Jair Jurrjens (32.5) and Jorge Campillo (29.2) are having comparable seasons to Soto, and could easily surpass him in value over the next five-and-a-half weeks, but because neither rookie righty has a big win total nor a very low ERA, and because both are toiling for a sub-.500 team, they don't have much chance to win the award.

It's Soto's to lose in the voters' eyes, and he is very unlikely to do so. He's been about the best player on the best team in the league, and if that doesn't quite rise to MVP status this year, it's more than good enough to make him Rookie of the Year.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Joe's other articles. You can contact Joe by clicking here

Related Content:  Alexei Ramirez

0 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (08/21)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Prospectus Today: Pick... (08/21)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Prospectus Today: And ... (08/26)
Next Article >>
UTK Wrap: Expansion (08/22)

Prospectus Feature: The PECOTA Release
Fantasy Article The -Only League Landscape: National League ...
Fantasy Article Dynasty League Positional Rankings: Top 50 T...
Fantasy Article Tale of the Tape, Dynasty Edition: Maikel Fr...
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Aaron Sanchez Is This Close T...
Baseball ProGUESTus: Why College Bats Disapp...
BP Experts Prospect Mock Draft: Rounds 3-4

Lies, Damned Lies: The Ultimate Fantasy Draf...
Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: Cramped Quarters
Premium Article Prospectus Preview: Friday's Games to Watch
UTK Wrap: Expansion

2008-08-22 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Picking the AL and NL Rook...

2008-08-29 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Bomber Runs?
2008-08-27 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: May Mets Fans Not Rush to ...
2008-08-26 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: And the Underwhelming
2008-08-22 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Picking the AL and NL Rook...
2008-08-21 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Picking the NL MVP
2008-08-19 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Picking the NL Cy Young
2008-08-18 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Picking the AL MVP