As the season moves forward I’d like to take a look at the National League rookies production at various points. In doing this I created a NL ROY Race where the top 10 rookies will be listed. The order is how I would place them if the season ended today. Lists are made to be argued over and this one is no different. In reviewing every rookies production to date it's my opinion that Danny Espinosa has played head and shoulders above the rest. When i checked out fangraphs.com I was proven correct. Espinosa has the highest WAR among any eligible rookie. Here's the top 5 let me know what you think:
1. Danny Espinosa 2B Nationals: .247AVG 15HR 48RBI 42R 9SB .33OBP .468SLG
Espinosa has had some monster games this season for the Nationals. He is a big reason why they have stayed in contention without Ryan Zimmerman for most of the season. His average isn’t where it should be, but he never going to be a guy that hits for a high average. His game is predicated on power and speed. So if he can hit around .260 and keep this combo of power and speed he will become one of the better middle infielders in baseball.
2. Craig Kimbrel RP Braves: 44IP 2.45ERA 1.09WHIP 2W-2L 26SV 69K
The Braves are loaded with talented rookie arms, but Kimbrel has proven to be the best so far this season. He’s filled the void left when Billy Wagner retired seamlessly. His K/9 is one of the best in baseball at 14.11, and that’s huge when it comes to closing out games. The less the ball is put into play in high pressure situations the better.
3. Antonio Bastardo RP Phillies: 31IP 0.87ERA 0.81WHIP 3W-0L 5SV 35K
The back end of the Phillies bullpen has been in turmoil all season due to injuries. Bard Lidge has been on the DL from spring training. Jose Contreras filled in nicely but succumbed to the injury bug as well. Ryan Madsen was finally able to put together some great outings as the closer but he to was struck down by injury. Bastardo has been lights out all year and stepping into the closers role nothing has changed. If he continues to pitch this way he won’t be giving the role back anytime soon.
4. Freddie Freeman 1B Braves: .273AVG 12HR 39RBI 38R 2SB .348OBP .447SLG
Freeman’s power took a little time to develop this year, but he hit 4 home runs in June and already has 3 in July. If the power stays consistent he could finish the year with 25+ home runs and challenge for the ROY award.
5. Brandon Beachy SP Braves: 61.1IP 3.23ERA 1.06WHIP 3W-1L 72K
Beachy has been a rock so far for the Braves rotation. He missed some time on the DL, but has proven healthy in his 3 starts since being activated. His strikeout numbers are impressive with a 10.57 K/9 and he has a stellar BB/9 of 2.22. It seems simple enough but if he can continue to limit base runners and strikeout that many hitters he will be an extremely successful pitcher.
The rest of the writeup is here: http://www.hits4brains.com/2011/07/hits4brains-rookie-of-year-race-nl.html
I figured the most important is the top 5, but 6-10 and just missed the cut is there as well. Let me know what you think.