With just one month left in the season, here are the top contenders for the AL Rookie of the Year in the final stretch:
SP Michael Fulmer: Fulmer has been lights out most of the season, albeit struggling in his past two starts. Fulmer still owns a 10-5 record and has the second-best ERA in the AL to Cole Hamels. Fulmer owns 2.4 fWAR, tops amongst AL rookies, and 4.6 bWAR, which is tied with Chris Sale for fourth amongst all AL pitchers. Fulmer also had an incredibly long scoreless IP streak earlier this year with 33 1/3 innings of shutout baseball. His streak was the second longest streak by a rookie pitcher in the last 45 years, second to only Fernando Valenzuela’s 35 IP streak.
Max Kepler: Kepler owns 1.3 fWAR and is tied for the lead amongst AL rookies with 15 HRs. Kepler leads all AL rookies with 58 RBI.
Tyler Naquin: Naquin has filled in for the injured Michael Brantley admirably and figures to be part of the outfield mix for years to come. He’s batting a solid .303, second amongst AL rookies. He’s shown power as well, swatting 14 long balls which is also second amongst AL rookies this year. Along with that, Naquin is second in OBP and leads in SLG and wRC+ amongst AL rookies as well.
Edwin Diaz: Since being handed the closer role, Diaz has converted 11 saves and has recorded a 2.15 ERA. Still, it seems he’s getting unlucky as opponents have a .403 BABIP so far this year. Diaz has a sparkling 16.49 K/9 rate this year and has a 1.59 FIP. He’s third amongst AL rookie hurlers with 1.5 fWAR.
Nomar Mazara: Mazara had a strong start to the year, but has quieted down significantly. He’ll have to have a monster September for him to receive serious consideration. Mazara, however, is tied for the lead amongst AL rookies with 15 home runs. He also leads AL rookies in runs scored with 48.
Gary Sanchez: The newcomer to the Rookie of the Year party hasn’t played many games this year (only 99 plate appearances) but is already worth 2.3 fWAR, tops amongst AL rookies not named Michael Fulmer . He’s batting .398 with 11 HRs, becoming the fastest player to 11 home runs. He also has won back-to-back Player of the Week honors for the AL, becoming the first rookie to do so.
Here are the current rankings based on my evaluations:
- Michael Fulmer
- Tyler Naquin
- Gary Sanchez
I believe Sanchez will continue his heroics into September and be considered a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate. Mazara definitely still has some of the numbers to back him up, but he’s on the outside looking in at this point. Do you agree with my rankings? Are there any other rookies you believe deserve consideration like Chris Devenski or Tim Anderson?