The National League featured a slew of high-performing rookies in 2013, although the dynamic Yasiel Puig garnered by far the most media attention out of the current rookie crop. Puig was incredible in his inaugural season, but he wasn’t called up until early June, so we’re going with the right-handed phenom Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins instead.
Another Cuban, Yasiel Puig, came close to earning my vote as the top rookie in the senior circuit, but the fact that he only had 382 at-bats pushed him down a notch in my books. Puig still managed to put up great numbers: .319 BA and a .925 OPS to go along with 19 homers and 11 steals. If he can cut down on the fielding and base running errors then he’ll be a future MVP in the National League.
A.J. Pollock of the Arizona Diamondbacks quietly put up a solid rookie campaign this past season. The 25-year-old outfielder was a first round pick in the 2009 draft and although he doesn’t possess a ton of power or speed, he can do everything well and he’s an excellent defensive player and base runner. Pollock’s numbers on the year were .269 BA, 8 HR, 32 RBI and 12 steals in 443 at-bats.
My National League ballot for the Willie Mays award is:
- Jose Fernandez, Marlins
- Yasiel Puig, Dodgers
- A.J. Pollock, Diamondbacks
The pickings were slim in the American League, but Wil Myers on the Tampa Bay Rays was clearly the best of the mediocre lot. Myers played a big role in getting the Rays into the playoffs, hitting .293 with 13 homers and 53 RBI in only 335 at-bats.
Outfielder David Lough of the Kansas City Royals didn’t have the offensive numbers of Myers, but his defense was outstanding in 2013. Lough did hit .286 with 5 homers and 33 RBI in 315 at-bats, but it’s his great defensive work that nudges him onto my ballot.
Mariners fans had little to cheer about once again in 2013, but at least some of their youngsters are starting to develop. Danny Farquhar, the 26-year-old rookie who came over in the Ichiro trade, took over as Seattle’s closer in August and finished the season with 16 saves. Although Farquhar’s ERA was only 4.20, he didn’t get much help from his defense and still registered some solid underlying numbers: 1.19 WHIP, 12.8 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 and 0.3 HR/9.
My ballot for the junior loop looks as follows:
- Wil Myers, Rays
- David Lough, Royals
- Danny Farquhar, Mariners