When the 2010 season began every predictions and projections that could be found for the upcoming season had either Jason Heyward or Stephen Strasburg as the favorite to win the National League Rookie of the Year. Heyward and Strasburg have both showed they are talented and are probably both still the favorites because they could easily take off in the second half. Neither one of them is currently the leader in the Rookie of the Year race though. There have been a lot more candidates for NL Rookie of the Year than people thought there would be.
Ranking the NL Rookie of the Year Candidates at the All Star Break: #10 Mike Stanton
Mike Stanton has shown flurries that should excite Florida Marlins fans. Stanton has compiled 20 RBI in just 100 at bats but out of all rookies with 100 at bats or more, Stanton is third to last in hitting.
Ranking the NL Rookie of the Year Candidates at the All Star Break: #9 Mike Leake
After the way Mike Leake came out of the gate it is difficult to only rank him ninth but a good win-loss record alone isn’t going to be enough with this tough NL Rookie of the Year crop.
Ranking the NL Rookie of the Year Candidates at the All Star Break: #8 David Friese
Possibly the hardest thing to do as a rookie in the Major League is to bat over .300 for the season and Friese is close to accomplishing that. Friese has encountered more growing pains defensively than expected though.
Ranking the NL Rookie of the Year Candidates at the All Star Break: #7 Jon Niese
Jon Niese could be a sleeper to watch out for in the second half. The first two months make Niese’s overall stats look deceiving but since the calendar turned from May to June Jon Niese has a 2.43 ERA and a WHIP of 0.95. Strasburg in the same time frame has a 2.32 ERA and 1.01 WHIP.
Ranking the NL Rookie of the Year Candidates at the All Star Break: #6 Buster Posey
If Buster Posey hits like he has so far then he could take down Heyward and Strasburg in the NL Rookie of the Year race but so far he just hasn’t played long enough.
Ranking the NL Rookie of the Year Candidates at the All Star Break: #5 Stephen Strasburg
I know, I know. Strasburg has been awesome and if he keeps it up then he could win the NL Rookie of the Year easily. Two factors to keep in mind the rest of the way though. 1. No team has gotten a second shot at him yet. 2. Will the innings limit hurt him in the race against Heyward and Posey?
Ranking the NL Rookie of the Year Candidates at the All Star Break: #4 Jason Heyward
Some baseball analysts will put Jason Heyward as high as first in the NL Rookie of the Year race but an awful June brought Heyward back down to earth. Heyward batted just .181 with only 1 home run and 7 RBI in June.
Ranking the NL Rookie of the Year Candidates at the All Star Break: #3 Ike Davis
Three reasons Ike Davis is ahead of Jason Heyward. 1. Davis and Heyward’s offensive numbers actually aren’t that far apart. 2. Ike Davis has been a godsend at first base for the Mets after the fans had to watch guys like Mo Vaughn, Mike Piazza, Jason Phillips, Fernando Tatis and Daniel Murphy try to defend the position over the last decade. 3. It may seem like Heyward has a lot of pressure because of the hype but he plays in Atlanta where they are going to pretend like he’s awesome no matter what he does. Davis does not get that luxury batting clean up for a New York team. Davis has actually had more pressure than Heyward.
Ranking the NL Rookie of the Year Candidates at the All Star Break: #2 Gaby Sanchez
Gaby Sanchez is currently the only NL Rookie of the Year candidate with more than 200 at bats that is batting over .300, a sign of consistency that is impressive for a rookie. Before you go off spouting Heyward’s power numbers, Sanchez has a better slugging percentage and OPS than Heyward.
Ranking the NL Rookie of the Year Candidates at the All Star Break: #1 Jaime Garcia
Jaime Garcia got no hype coming into the season and still has gotten little attention but his 2.17 ERA should not be ignored. Garcia now has a lower ERA than Ubaldo Jimeinez and a lower ERA than Roy Halladay, everybody’s pick to be the Cy Young this season.
So who will win the National League Rookie of the Year in 2010?
The top 5 NL Rookie of the Year candidates at the end of 2010 will probably be.
1. Stephen Strasburg
2. Buster Posey
3. Jaime Garcia
4. Jason Heyward
5. Ike Davis
Ike Davis could be a contender. When Carlos Beltran comes back he should drop to sixth in the order, which will be less pressure and he’ll have the luxury of batting after Beltran, David Wright and Jason Bay. Heyward will come back from injury and have good power numbers but won’t be able to top Posey’s combination of power and average. Garcia will hang around but in the end Strasburg will be too much. Strasburg and Heyward could also benefit from hype and voters that don’t do their homework.