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Jaime Garcia leads strong cast of NL ROY candidates

Aug 23, 2010, 11:39 AM EDT

Cardinals rookie Jaime Garcia put on a show Sunday afternoon in St. Louis, tossing a three-hit shutout against the Giants in what became a 9-0 Cards victory. The young left-hander needed only 89 pitches to get through his nine innings of work and he did not allow...

Cardinals rookie Jaime Garcia put on a show Sunday afternoon in St. Louis, tossing a three-hit shutout against the Giants in what became a 9-0 Cards victory.

The young left-hander needed only 89 pitches to get through his nine innings of work and he did not allow a runner past first base.  According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, it was the first shutout by a Cardinals rookie since Bud Smith fired a no-hitter against the Padres in September of 2001. 

Garcia has been fantastic all year for the second-place Redbirds with an incredible 11-6 record, 2.42 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 111/54 K/BB ratio through 24 starts.  He must be considered the front-runner for the National League Rookie of the Year Award at this point, but he does have competition:

Starlin Castro – SS – Cubs:  The 20-year-old shortstop was thrown into the fire in early May and has done everything that the Cubs have asked.  Through 94 big-league games, he’s batting .316/.363/.438 with three home runs, 37 RBI and six stolen bases.  Castro has also shown improved range at the shortstop position.

Jason Heyward – OF – Braves:  An early favorite for the ROY, Heyward may still win it if he is able to finish the year strong and lead his Braves to the postseason.  The 21-year-old has posted an .830 OPS with 14 homers and 57 RBI in 104 games for Atlanta this year.  His .378 on-base percentage ranks ninth in the National League.

Buster Posey – C – Giants:  Posey got a late jump on his competition thanks to a delayed call-up, but he’s been truly excellent since finally landing that late-May promotion.  Over 74 games this season he owns a .341 batting average, a .903 OPS and nine home runs.  The 23-year-old has begun playing catcher more with Bengie Molina out of the picture.

Mike Stanton – OF – Marlins:  Stanton was called up to the majors on June 8 with a reputation for taking pitchers deep.  He’s done just that, blasting 14 home runs in only 227 major league at-bats and posting an impressive .848 OPS along the way.  His plate discipline does need work, but Stanton has legitimate 40-homer pop and he is already showing it age 20.

Mike Leake – SP – Reds:   The Reds have already shifted him to the bullpen in an effort to limit his innings total, but Leake’s performance this season is certainly worthy of all sorts of accolades.  He currently boasts an 8-4 record, a 3.85 ERA and a total of 90 strikeouts over 138 innings.  Garcia’s numbers are far better, but Leake has defied the odds in going from a college pitcher to a successful major leaguer without a hint of affiliate baseball and his Reds are headed for their first postseason birth since 1995.

Fringe Candidates: Chris Johnson (3B, Astros), Jonny Venters (RP, Braves), (Stephen Strasburg (SP, Nationals), Gaby Sanchez (1B, Marlins), Tyler Colvin (OF, Cubs).

  1. Trevor B - Aug 23, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    Mat Latos is getting robbed because he was 2/3’s innings over 50 last season. He is putting up better numbers than Garcia this season.
    I wish Posey had come up sooner because then he’d probably be the front runner. Strasberg would be higher up but I think that sore arm is hurting his numbers a bit as well.

  2. Matt Casey - Aug 23, 2010 at 12:15 PM

    What about Jonathon Niese? 3.33 ERA in 23 starts … in 13 of those starts he’s allowed 0 or 1 ER. Decent K rate (7.17 per 9), FIP of 3.91. Dude is at least in the discussion.

  3. hnirobert - Aug 23, 2010 at 12:15 PM

    Where the F is Gaby Sanchez? I get he’s not a sexy name, but he’s:
    First in Batting Average
    First in AB’s
    First in hits
    First in doubles
    First in RBI’s
    He’s 2nd in runs scored
    Third in BB’s
    Tied for third in triples
    Tied for third in HR’s
    He’s also a dependable, every day player. I’d give it to Jaime Garcia, but Gaby shouldn’t be lower than 2nd after voting ends.

  4. FlyEaglesFly - Aug 23, 2010 at 12:42 PM

    Garcia, hands down. Not really worth a discussion or the post at this point.

  5. D.J. Short - Aug 23, 2010 at 1:13 PM

    Agreed, Matt. In addition to what you mentioned above, only Garcia is higher than Niese among MLB rookie pitchers in VORP. He is overlooked in the ROY discussion. No doubt.

  6. El Bravo - Aug 23, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    Heyward will win it by hitter a homer in each game for the rest of the regular season.

  7. cull1224 - Aug 23, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    If you have watched the Braves games at all, then you know that Heyward is NOT ROY,as many of his stats were accomplished in the first month or so. But they do have the ROY — Johnny Venters, who has been almost unfailingly successful as the bridge to Wagner, their closer. Venters has been practically unhittable the entire season – not perfect, but near so. His slider and fastball are UGLY effective, and the kid is a rook. Braves, if they do so,in large part make the playoffs b/c of this guy,not b/c of Heyward, who will be good. Fringe candidate my a*****.

  8. cull1224 - Aug 23, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    If you have watched the Braves games at all, then you know that Heyward is NOT ROY,as many of his stats were accomplished in the first month or so. But they do have the ROY — Johnny Venters, who has been almost unfailingly successful as the bridge to Wagner, their closer. Venters has been practically unhittable the entire season – not perfect, but near so. His slider and fastball are UGLY effective, and the kid is a rook. Braves, if they do so,in large part make the playoffs b/c of this guy,not b/c of Heyward, who will be good. Fringe candidate my a*****.

  9. marcos1989 - Aug 23, 2010 at 4:26 PM

    As it regards to Mat Latos being robbed was because the San Diego Padres wanted to put Latos initially on the disabled list initially was to cut down on the amount of innings that he pitches. Personally, putting a pitcher on a disabled list is a wrong thing to do. The disabled list is for athletes who are injured or unabled to play. So what the padres had to do in order to avoid embarrasment was that Latos came to the team trainers a week later & said that he felt a tug on his ribcage after holding a sneeze. I truly think that when the National media said that he was placed on the “sneeze-induced”
    disabled list pretty much kill his chances of earning or getting recognition for a Cy Young or Rookie of the year. There is always next year!

  10. nps6724 - Aug 23, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    Heyward does have the 25th-highest WAR in the NL – 3.1. Castro is at 2.1, Sanchez 2.5, Stanton 2.1, Posey 3.0, Colvin 1.5, Leake 1.4, Venters 1.4, and Garcia 2.9.

  11. Trevor B - Aug 23, 2010 at 5:56 PM

    Umm, no you idiot he isnt ROY eligible because LAST YEAR he went over the amount of innings (50) needed to be considered a rookie by pitching 50.2 innings. And guess what, he still wont be ROY eligible next year because he’ll be considered a 3rd year player.
    Wow you’re stupid, read much?

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