The Baseball Bloggers Alliance votes each season on various end of the year awards – Manager of the Year (Connie Mack), ROY (Willie Mays), Reliever (Goose Gossage), Pitcher (Walter Johnson), and MVP (Stan Musial). This year I am submitting one of the two St Louis chapter votes on Rookie of the Year. Although there are several worthy candidates, I’ve narrowed the list to six, who I’ve ranked based on Wins Above Replacement (WAR).
- Jason Heyward – 5.0
- Buster Posey – 3.9
- Jamie Garcia – 3.2
- Stephen Strasburg – 2.7
- Madison Bumgarner – 2.0
- Starlin Castro – 2.0
Although I’m a big fan of WAR, there’s something flawed about the metric when Strasburg can throw 68 major league innings and put up a 2.7. Which is better than the full season efforts of guys like Clayton Richard and Ted Lilly. Now I am NOT suggesting that Lilly or Richard is a better pitcher than Strasburg, or have a higher ceiling than Stephen. But it seems to me some allowance should be given for durability.
Anyway. Looking at this list, only two on it started the year in the Major Leagues – Heyward and Garcia. Heyward was the most heralded rookie entering this season other than Strasburg, ending last year as the #1 prospect on a lot of lists. He is probably most known for his opening day 3-run bomb, in his home town of Atlanta no less. Welcome to the big leagues Mr. Heyward. Garcia, recently off Tommy John surgery, was expected to be the #5 starter in the Cardinal rotation. He became the #3 starter one month into the season thanks to injuries to Kyle Lohse and Brad Penny, and pitched remarkably well.
Heyward has the higher WAR, but I don’t just want to lean on WAR because of the Strasburg situation above. Both contributed to their team’s success over the balance of the season. Heyward, however, picked it up a notch in the second half as compared to Garcia. Pretty arbitrary, sure, but enough for me. Heyward’s our guy.
My ballot allows me to vote for a top 3. Well Garcia is the #2, who’s #3? I’m going to go with Buster Posey. In my spare time I follow the Padres, and I can say first-hand San Francisco would not be in the NLCS this season without Posey. The Giants made other moves to bolster their roster, Pat Burrell and Cody Ross among them, mid-season, but Posey had a large impact on their ultimate victory in the NL West. So, to recap:
- Jason Heyward, Braves OF
- Jamie Garcia, Cardinals P
- Buster Posey, Giants C
Are our top 3 Rookie of the Year candidates.