Notes on a handful of promising first-years who could hold fantasy value in 2016.
Yes, yes, Byron Buxton and Joey Gallo are two of the best fantasy prospects in baseball and likely contributors from the jump (or pretty close to it) this year. But y’all are already watching those guys, so yet another write-up of either feels unnecessary. Let’s talk about five other dudes of less-extreme projection instead, shall we?
Tyler Naquin, OF, CLE – With Michael Brantley on the shelf for the foreseeable future and penciled-in replacement Abraham Almonte shuffling off to PED purgatory for the entirety of the season’s first half, there’s a wide open road ahead for Naquin to emerge from spring training as the Tribe’s first rookie starter on Opening Day in 30 years. And he’s certainly doing his part, forcing the issues with a very strong spring (.400/.429/.650 in his first nine games).
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Here you will find an exploration of the best, worst, and weirdest career ROY pairs
The only facts worth knowing are fun facts. I was recently struck that 2015 Rookies of the Year Carlos Correa and Kris Bryant are both very good baseball players, the one a no. 1 overall pick (Correa, 2012), the other no. 2 (Bryant, 2013), one topping out as our no. 3 overall prospect (Correa, 2015), the other as our no. 5 (Bryant, 2015). These aren't flashes in their respective pans, like Pat Listach or Ron Kittle. You don't expect 50-WARP careers out of anybody, but if you're going to put those expectations on any rookies currently playing, it's Correa and Bryant.
So here's the question I will answer using a spreadsheet built for me by the wizard Rob McQuown:1 What are the best and worst Rookie of the Year classes in terms of career value, and how does the Correa-Bryant pair look to fit in? (To be completely clear: Everything discussed in this piece is about careerWARP. The goal isn't to talk about whether Rookie of the Year votes were "bad" or "good." Sometimes the legitimate best rookie in a season just BABIP'd his way into a career year; sometimes it's a precursor to greatness. These are their stories.)
Do rookie starters struggle to find the strike zone in their first career starts?
Zack Wheeler’s big-league debut on Tuesday night went well. He held the Braves scoreless over six innings, allowing four hits, striking out seven batters, and showing impressive stuff. The only cause for complaint was that he walked five.
Two major-league teams are bereft of new blood on one side of the ball this season.
I lied to you a little in the title of this post. I did that because I wanted you to click on this article, and I was worried that you wouldn’t if I didn’t embellish a bit. Evidently it worked. So this is where I come clean and tell you that there aren't actually two teams who haven't had a rookie play for them in 2012. But now that you’re here, you might as well keep reading! Because there is something almost as interesting as two teams that haven’t had a rookie play for them: one team that hasn’t had a rookie pitcher play for it, and one team that hasn’t had a rookie non-pitcher play for it. Those teams, unlike the ones in my title, actually exist.
Do early-season phenoms fade once the rest of the league learns to stop giving them pitches to hit?
Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
The 2006 class is a tough one to beat among a strong recent group of rookie classes.
Earlier this week, the folks at Beloit College released their annual MindsetList, a document designed to explain the cultural differences between the incoming class of college freshmen and the older faculty hired to teach them. The idea is to highlight the small and large ways the world has changed in the last 20 years by mentioning things that were true during the life span of oldsters that were never true for those under 20, e.g., the existence of things like a telephone cord, a country called Czechoslovakia, and a baseball commissioner not named Bud. For me, a man who fervently hopes Jamie Moyer comes back next spring to ensure I won’t have to face being older than every major-league ballplayer, this is always a time to reflect on youth and age, both in life and in baseball—especially so this year, since the current Mindset List includes a reference to the term Annus Horribilus, which I happened to use in last year’s BP Annual, but which I now know dates me almost as much as saying “23 Skidoo.”
Players who set the bar high in their rookie seasons naturally have a harder time meeting expectations as sophomores.
A quick glance at the recent fortunes of last year’s Rookie of the Year hopefuls reveals that bringing home the hardware is far from a guarantor of future success. Of those receiving votes in the American League, victor Andrew Bailey, runner-up Elvis Andrus, and fourth-place finisher Jeff Niemann have used their successful starts as springboards for continued or heightened success. However, 2010 has been less kind to the other AL tyros who earned some November lovin’ from the BBWAA. A mere eight months ago, Rick Porcello was mowing down the Twins in the Metrodome as the Tigers’ season entered overtime; now he finds himself sporting an ERA over five (Skill-Interactive and otherwise). Gordon Beckham and his TAv below the terrible twos (.196, to be precise) have earned Ozzie Guillen’s ire (a distinction sharedbymany), and Brett Anderson, all but christened Cy Youngster prior to the season, may have pitched his last.