Considering the fact that one of the finalists for 2016 NL Rookie of the Year (the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Corey Seager) is also a finalist for the 2016 National League MVP Award, it’s probably a long shot that either Washington Nationals’ infielder/outfielder Trea Turner or LA’s starter Kenta Maeda is going to take home the ROY.
The fact that Turner is even a finalist is something of a surprise, considering the 23-year-old didn’t come up for good until early July.
Turner played in 73 games total and made 324 plate appearances in 2016, over which the San Diego Padres’ 2014 1st Round pick, acquired by the Nationals as a Player to be Named Later in three-team deal with the Tampa Bay Rays in December 2014, put up a .342/.370/.567 line, 14 doubles, eight triples, 13 home runs and 33 stolen bases, finishing the year at 3.3 fWAR and 147 wRC+.
Dusty Baker talked after the regular season finale about the impact the rookie had on the Nationals’ lineup once he was up for good.
“When Trea came, Trea gave us another weapon, another element,” Baker said. “I mean, here’s a young man batting leadoff that drove in 40 runs and hit 13 home runs and stole 30 bases in a half a season. So, oh yeah, he had tremendous impact on our lineup and had a lot to do with us winning.”
Turner’s .342 AVG was the highest posted by a rookie with at least 290 at bats since Ichiro Suzuki hit .350 as a rookie in 2001. He also earned Rookie of the Month nods in August and September/October.
Corey Seager, 22 and a 2012 1st Round pick in his first full season in the majors after he debuted in 2015, put up a .308/.365/.512 line with 40 doubles, five triples and 26 homers, finishing at 7.7 fWAR and +137 wRC+ over 687 PAs. He was named the NL’s Rookie of the Month in June.
Kenta Maeda, 28, signed an 8-year/$25M deal with the Dodgers after eight seasons playing for the Hiroshima Carp in Japan’s Central League.
Over 32 starts and 175 2⁄3 IP this season, the right-hander went (16-11) with a 3.48 ERA, 3.58 FIP, 50 walks (2.56 BB/9) and 179 Ks (9.17 K/9), holding hitters to a .228/.291/.359 line. Maeda finished his first major league season at 3.3 fWAR.
So who’s going to take home the 2016 NL ROY Award? Anyone else you would have preferred as the final candidates?
We’ll find out who wins NL ROY tonight when the Baseball Writers’ Association of America announces the American and National League winners at 6:00 PM EDT.