Analyzing the MLB Rookie of the Year Race

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Buster Posey's home run yesterday gets him one step closer to the NL Rookie of the Year crown. Buster has only played in 87 games, but his Joe Mauer-like production is eye popping. Catchers who can hit like this just don't come around every day. The fact that he's putting up these numbers for the SF Giants in a pennant race really cements his case.

Unless you are a big Fantasy Baseball guy, Michael Stanton may not be a household name yet at your home. Playing in South Florida for a team that isn't high profile or in a large media market, Stanton is going to end up playing over half a season with more than 20 HR's and 50 RBI. In only 78 games and 279 at bats, Stanton has blasted 18 HR and 46 RBI. While some may view Stanton and his .243 BA as having an Adam Dunn-Like career, keep in mind that only 20 years old, he's more than held his own. Combine his minor league number with his major league numbers this year and he's hit .272 with 39 HR's, 98 RBI, 71 BB, 75 RS, and the kid still has 23 games to play. Buster Posey will likely get the ROY award this year, but Mike Stanton will end up accumulating his share of various batting hardware as the years roll on. Stanton has the potential to mirror the career of another young Marlins rookie phenom, Miguel Cabrera, with even more power. If there's one player in this group that I would like to have going forward, it's Mike Stanton.

Jason Heyward will finish with nice numbers for a rookie and if he remains healthy, could really become a star. As 21 years old home grown kid, you can certainly see Heyward becoming the face of the Braves franchise for years to come. His future truly may be as bright as anyone's in the game. Injuries have curtailed his numbers however from what the potentially have been. Unfortunately for him, his numbers will be juxtaposed upon preseason forecasts that were only strengthened by his fast start. He's had a number of bumps, bruises, nixes and scratches this year, but the thumb injury he sustained smack in the middle of the season really hurt his NL ROY chances. The Braves really did him and themselves a disservice by attempting to let him play through it. He ultimately went on the DL, but in trying to play through it, his performance during that time was sub par. As a result, his HR and RBI numbers relative to his games played and the number of at bats he will end up with won't be enough to distinguish his candidacy.

The fact that Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter are on the Cardinals, hurts the chances of Jaime's Garcia's ROY candidacy because they steal all the press. If the Reds end up winning the division, that will hurt too as the Cardinals year will be viewed as a disappointment because they were heavy favorites to win the NL Central when the year began. Jaime Garcia is the sole pitcher on this list primarily because NL CY contender Mat Latos pitched 50 2/3 innings in 2009, disqualifying him from ROY consideration by just 2/3 of an inning. (The Padres new Latos was going to be a stud, they couldn't have him pitch one inning less last year? They weren't in a pennant race. Awful job.) Never the less, with a 2.689 ERA and 13 wins, Garcia has had a fantastic year and deserves honorable mention. Frankly with Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter and Jaime's Garcia all on the Cardinals roster and playing well, the fact that the Cincinnati Reds are in first place by five games makes the Reds season perhaps the most compelling story in baseball.

Here's how I see them finishing:

1 - Buster Posey
2 - Michael Stanton
3 - Jason Heyward
4 - Jaime Garcia

Keith A. Baker is a sports agent in Stamford, Connecticut. His goal is to offer a unique insight to the world of sports. Comments in his columns are for entertainment purposes only and do not reflect the views and opinions of his firm or his clients.


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