The Rookies Go To WAR

The truncated 2020 baseball season impacted players in a myriad of ways. Those possibly affected the most were the ones getting close to the major leagues. With no minor league season, limited access to facilities and the threat of the virus itself, nothing was normal. So, heading into 2021 what could we expect of prospects? Would their potential overcome the obstacles or would they fall behind on the road to “The Show”.

Looking at a top-100 prospect list published in January, it’s easy to find some poor results (stats are through 9/3)…

  • #4 Jared Kelenic has been up with Mariners twice this season and is hitting .158 in 240 AB’s
  • #24 Spencer Howard was traded from the Phillies to the Rangers at the deadline and has zero Wins with a 6.56 ERA.
  • #25 Christian Pache began 2021 in the Braves line-up but hit only .111 with 25 K’s and 2 BB. He’s now at AAA.
  • #30 Vidal Brujan got a “cup of coffee” with the Rays and went 2-for-26.
  • #71 Leody Taveras has played 24 games for the Rangers and is hitting .113.

OK, let’s not toss our ROY ballots in the trash just yet. With the help of “Wins Above Replacement” (WAR), we’ll get a feel for which rookies are really contributing to the success of their team.

First the offensive players…

  • Jonathan India (NR, 3.4 WAR) has been a force in the Reds line-up with 18 HR’s, 61 RBI’s and 9 SB’s.
  • Adolis Garcia (NR, 3.1 WAR) came out of nowhere as a 28 year-old with 29 HR’s, 77 RBI’s & 9 SB’s.
  • Patrick Wisdom (NR, 2.2 WAR) was a marginal prospect with the Cardinals in 2018, but his age 29 campaign with the re-building Cubs has been amazing…25 HR’s.
  • Randy Arozarena (#35, 2.1 WAR) had an over the top post season in 2020 for the Rays and most fans didn’t even realize that he was still rookie-eligible this year. Having a very solid 2021 with 18 HR’s, 60 RBI’s & 12 SB.
  • Tyler Stephenson (NR, 1.9 WAR) has taken over the catching duties for the Reds and has a .371 OBP.
  • Wander Franco (#1, 1.8 WAR) had to wait at AAA but has now made his presence felt with a 30+ game on-base streak.
  • Dylan Carlson (#13, 1.7 WAR) was somewhat over-hyped but has performed well with 13 HR’s and a .344 OBP…he’s only 22.
  • Ramon Urias (NR, 1.6 WAR) – This 27 year-old has been playing professional baseball since 2011 but you don’t really need great credentials to join the Orioles line-up. A .351 OBP in 265 AB’s has been quite good.
  • Ryan Mountcastle (#82, 1.6 WAR) has been another bright spot for the Birds with 25 HR’s.
  • Edmundo Sosa, Jazz Chisholm & Akil Baddoo have also contributed 1.6 WAR.

Now, for the Pitchers…

  • Trevor Rogers (NR, 3.3 WAR) has made 20 starts for the Marlins with a 2.45 ERA.
  • Luis Garcia (NR, 2.8 WAR) leads all rookies with 10 Wins and the Astros are very happy with his 3.23 ERA.
  • Shane McClanahan (NR, 2.2 WAR) is 9-5 in 21 starts for the league-leading Rays.
  • Cole Irvin (NR, 2.1 WAR) has been the most durable of the group with 149 IP in 26 starts for the A’s.
  • Ian Anderson (#20, 2.0 WAR) hasn’t disappointed the Braves with his 3.36 ERA.
  • Dane Dunning (NR, 1.9 WAR) came over the Rangers from the White Sox in the Lance Lynn deal and should be a long-term asset.
  • Emmanuel Clase (NR, 1.8 WAR) has emerged as the Guardians Closer with 20 Saves.
  • Logan Gilbert (#59, 1.8 WAR) is a bright spot for the Mariners at age 24.
  • Garrett Whitlock (NR, 1.6 WAR) has had 7 Wins and a 1.63 ERA out of the Red Sox bullpen.

With just a few weeks left in the season, the ROY Awards are still to be decided. Who do you like?

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