Legends On Deck

MLB Rookie of the Year Preview

Updated 11/14 6:00pm

As expected, Corey Seager won the National League Rookie of the Year unanimously taking all 30 first place votes.  Trea Turner finished second with Kenta Maeda behind in third.  A few other players received votes including Colorado’s Trevor Story who finished a close fourth.

Michael Fulmer took the award in the American League collecting 26 first place votes.  Gary Sanchez finished in second with four first place votes, while Indians Tyler Naquin didn’t receive any.  Just like the National League, a few other players received votes but none were close enough.

Original Post 11/14 9:00am

As the offseason steamrolls ahead, so does the award season.  Monday the Rookie of the Year will be announced for both the American League and the National League.  Each league has named three finalists, and as usual there may not be a clear cut winner on either side.  So many young players have made an impact on this game this season, that narrowing it down to three on each side was probably as difficult as figuring who will take home the hardware.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Gary Sanchez, Yankees  – Sanchez made himself a household name in just a short period of time.  The hard-hitting catcher made his major league debut for two games last October, but it was his 53 games this year that put him into the position to win the Rookie of the Year award.  Sanchez hit 20 home runs in just 201 at-bats, all for all intents and purposes solidified his spot as the starting catcher for the Bronx Bombers.  32 of his 60 hits were for extra bases, and he also drew 24 walks.  His line for the season was .299/.376/.657/1.032.  The question is, did he play enough this season to win the award?  Time will tell.

Michael Fulmer, Tigers – As one of the main parts in the trade return for Yoenis Cespedes, Fulmer burst onto the scene in 2016 and paid instant dividends for the Detroit Tigers.  Starting the season for Triple-A Toledo, Fulmer made three starts before being called up to the Tigers in late April.  He made 26 starts for Detroit and ended the season 11-7 with an ERA of 3.06.  A former first round pick of the New York Mets, a spot in the rotation is his to lose in 2017.

Tyler Naquin, Indians – Naquin made his major league debut on opening day for the Cleveland Indians.  He did spend a little time in Triple-A this season, but did put together a very solid campaign for the American League Champion Indians.  In 116 games at the major league level, Naquin hit .296 with 14 home runs and 43 driven in.  He played most of the season in center field and had an overall fielding percentage of .986.  Naquin was Cleveland’s first round pick in the 2012 MLB Draft.

Prediction: Well this is a tough race and if I had a vote I would give it to Fulmer.  Being put in a starting rotation has to be difficult, staying in it must be even harder.  Fulmer did that and with success.  Unfortunately though I don’t have a vote, and I feel the Sanchez will win it based on the power numbers in a such a short period of time.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Corey Seager, Dodgers: Seager had an outstanding rookie season with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  He played in 157 games at one of the most demanding positions in baseball, and he did it well.  On the season, Seager hit .308 with 26 home runs and 72 RBI.  He also had 193 hits on the year, adding 40 doubles and five triples.  Seager was also named to the National League All-Star team.  He is going a cornerstone in the middle infield for Los Angeles for a long time.  He also could be in the conversation for National League MVP.

Trea Turner, Nationals: Turner made his major league debut in August of 2015 for a few games, but was called up again this season making into 73 games for the Nationals.  All Turner seemed to do was make great plays on the field and be a terror on the base path.  In his limited action this season he hit .342.  He had 105 hits in the 73 games, but what he added to the Washington lineup was speed.  Turner swiped 33 bases on 39 attempts which was good enough for seventh in all of baseball in about half the amount of games played.  Turner if you remember was a big part of the Wil Myers trade to the San Diego Padres.

Kenta Maeda, Dodgers: The 28-year old former Japanese star had a good rookie season playing for the Dodgers.  He made 32 starts going 16-11 with an ERA of 3.48.  Maeda had 179 strikeouts in 175.2 innings with 50 walks.  Although a strong season, Maeda is going to fall a little short in the voting on this one, but it will be interesting to see how he does in 2017.

Prediction:  The one is a bit easier to choose.  Seager’s season was tremendous and I feel like he will walk away with it.  Had Turner played an entire season the conversation might look a little different.

John Ginder

Site Co-Founder/Senior Editor and Co-Host at Legends on Deck® The Podcast
In the past John has been a part of such successful sites as MetsMerizedOnline and MetsMinors.net.John was born and raised in upstate New York and has a love of all sports but mainly baseball. He has grown used to heartache with his teams as he roots for the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres too.John has a loving and understanding wife and is the the proud father of two amazing boys.He also loves heavy metal music.

You can also reach out to John at jginder@legendsondeck.com