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2012 midseason awards: AL Rookie of the Year

Jul 4, 2012, 12:56 PM EDT

Thanks to a league ruling restoring a certain Angel’s eligibility, the AL Rookie of the Year race is pretty much a batter for second place. But what a battle it might be.

The candidates:

Mike Trout (LAA): .340/.396/.552, 10 HR, 36 RBI, 22 SB in 241 AB
Will Middlebrooks (Bos): .298/.335/.538, 10 HR, 37 RBI, 3 SB in 171 AB
Yoenis Cespedes (Oak): .270/.330/.486, 9 HR, 35 RBI, 4 SB in 185 AB
Quintin Berry (Det): .295/.388/.394, 1 HR, 13 RBI, 12 SB in 132 AB

Yu Darvish (Tex): 10-5, 3.59 ERA, 117/53 K/BB in 102 2/3 IP
Tommy Milone (Oak): 8-6, 3.73 ERA, 63/24 K/BB in 101 1/3 IP
Wei-Yin Chen (Bal): 7-4, 3.64 ERA, 73/30 K/BB in 99 IP
Matt Moore (TB): 5-5, 4.17 ERA, 93/45 K/BB in 95 IP
Jarrod Parker (Oak): 5-3, 2.46 ERA, 61/39 K/BB in 80 1/3 IP
Scott Diamond (Min):  7-3, 2.63 ERA, 41/11 K/BB in 72 P
Robbie Ross (Tex): 6-0, 1.03 ERA, 26/8 K/BB in 43 2/3 IP
Ryan Cook (Oak): 2-2, 7 Sv, 1.54 ERA, 37/21 K/BB in 35 IP

Here’s how they rank according to Baseball-reference WAR:

4.1 – Trout
2.6 – Parker
2.3 – Darvish
1.9 – Chen
1.6 – Cook
1.6 – Ross
1.5 – Diamond
1.0 – Berry
0.9 – Milone
0.6 – Middlebrooks
-0.3 – Moore
-0.4 – Cespedes

Now, it’s a bad idea to take WAR as gospel anyway and especially so midway through a season, but I find myself in agreement with the way it lines up the top guys here. Trout isn’t only the Rookie of the Half-season, but he’s going to be in the running for MVP honors if he keeps that up.

After Trout, the pitchers dominate. Darvish has 10 wins and is third in the league in strikeouts. Still, I think Parker rates the edge at this point. In his 13 starts, he’s allowed no runs three times, one run six times and two runs twice. Darvish is working deeper into games and pitching in a tougher ballpark, but he’s allowed two runs or fewer in a comparatively modest seven of his 16 starts. Chen is actually closing the gap on him.

It’s worth mentioning the bullpen guys, too. Ross and Cook have been about as valuable as any AL relievers thus far. I think Cook has the better chance of keeping it up, though his walk rate is a concern.

My ballot
1. Trout
2. Parker
3. Darvish

  1. yahmule - Jul 4, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    No question Trout deserves the award. I also think Parker has been overshadowed a bit by Darvish. The stat listed about Parker allowing one or fewer runs in 9 of his first 13 starts is made more impressive when you consider the only other rookie pitcher to accomplish this feat, (dating back to 1918), was Dwight Gooden in 1984.

    • pmcenroe - Jul 4, 2012 at 1:53 PM

      well Trout deserves it so far. Still a long way to go

  2. scatterbrian - Jul 4, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    The AL is easily Trout. The NL will be the interesting vote, with Lance Lynn, Wade Miley, and Bryce Harper…

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jul 4, 2012 at 2:10 PM

      No Lynn. He spent too much time on the roster last year to qualify.

    • hittfamily - Jul 4, 2012 at 2:16 PM

      You left out my pick, Wilin Rosario. In less that 200 PA, he has 14 homers as a catcher. Teams try for decades to find a quality catcher. Over a full season, he’s on pace for 45. Colorado or not, a .530 slugging % is impressive. I don’t understand how BR only has him at .7 WAR though.

      • dondada10 - Jul 4, 2012 at 8:19 PM

        Pretty sure that WAR is skewed for catchers because their fielding is so hard to evaluate.

    • paperlions - Jul 4, 2012 at 3:22 PM

      Don’t sleep on Todd Frazier,

  3. minnesotasportsinsider - Jul 4, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    Diamond has been just as good as darvish and Parker just not as flashy. He had 3 straight starts with no earned runs allowed.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jul 4, 2012 at 2:10 PM

      Diamond has been a nice surprise, but he’s faced two teams in the top 10 in the majors in runs scored. Parker has faced six, including Nos. 1 and 2 (Tex and Bos) three times.

  4. charlutes - Jul 4, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    mid season awards make me not care about real awards as much cuz every other day some blogger has his own list and its all so meaningless with half a season to play.

  5. titknocker - Jul 4, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    Trout w/ Middlebrooks a distant second followed by Parker.

  6. Kevin Gillman - Jul 5, 2012 at 12:02 AM

    I guess Trout and Harper qualify, but I just find it hard to give the award to two guys that haven’t played a full season. They both came in May, where as guys like Cook, and even Darvish have played the whole season. But you can’t deny, both men are very talented. The key though is how will both men be effected playing in the most amount of games in either of their careers professionally when it’s all said and done?

    • crackersnap - Jul 5, 2012 at 4:45 PM

      Wait…you are kidding, right? Right? Mike Trout has played in 60 games so far this season, all but one of those were complete games and two went extra innings anyway. He has 273 total Plate Appearances. He did not participate at all in the first 20 games of this season. Meanwhile, Darvish has been on the field a sum total of 16 games and not on the field at all for 66 games. Cook has seen a sum total of 36 innings pitched and not been on the field at all for 17 total games in 2012.

      No disrespect for Darvish and Cook and totally recognizing the heavy slant WAR has for pitchers, but your argument in favor of Darvish and Cook and against Trout is based on Trout not being on the field for 20 games???

      • Kevin Gillman - Jul 5, 2012 at 5:07 PM

        I said I know they both came in May, but I also know I have no case here. It’s all about popularity votes in all of this. But in making Cook’s case, nobody thought he’d be this good, and he has done so much for Oakland. But ultimately, let’s see how Trout finishes the season.

  7. fordman84 - Jul 5, 2012 at 9:05 AM

    This Ranger fan begrudgingly admits Trout deserves it so far. But, we still have half a year left. Remember a couple of years ago we all thought Boesch was AL favorite and then tanked the last half. Maybe Trout will do the same :)

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