MLB Rookie of the Year Award 2013: National League

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The National League Rookie of the Year award is expected to come down to Jose Fernandez and Yasiel Puig. The Fake Teams writers make their case for Fernandez and Puig, along with several of the other Rookie of the Year candidates in the National League.

Major League Baseball announces their National League Rookie of the Year award later today, but the Fake Teams writers got together to provide you with our take on who should win the award, along with stating the case for several of the candidates.

The National League Rookie of the Year award will probably come down to Marlins ace Jose Fernandez and Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig. We make the ROY award case for Fernandez, Puig, Braves starter Julio Teheran, Cardinals starter Shelby Miller and Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu.

National League Rookie of the Year

Making the ROY Case: Julio Teheran

by Zack Smith

Julio Teheran seems to get overlooked in the conversation about the next generation of young arms in the National League. Matt Harvey, Jose Fernandez, Gerrit Cole and Shelby Miller are often the guys that people talk about and, though I completely understand why, Teheran somewhat quietly put up an extremely impressive rookie season. If you'll allow me to put my narrative pants on for a little bit (the people at the library will thank you since I normally write in my underwear), I will get into the stats in a moment. According to Baseball America, Teheran was the Braves number one prospect from 2010 to 2012 and his debut was much anticipated by Braves fans. However, after posting a 5.08 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in Triple A in 2012 and growing concern over the lack of a breaking ball, Teheran's star began to fade. After refining his mechanics, Teheran dominated the Dominican winter league and carried that dominance over to Spring Training. His performance in the offseason earned him a spot in Atlanta's rotation and he never looked back.

Now for the stats (yes, ladies, the pants are off once again). Already armed with a nasty changeup, Teheran added a slider to his repertoire in 2013 and the pitch proved to be useful as it held opponents to a .169 average. He continued to show the ability to throw strikes consistently and work ahead in the count, as evidenced by his F-Strike% of 65.4% and a BB/K of 3.78. The abilities to limit base runners (5.8% BB%) and miss bats (22% K%)are important for Teheran because he can, at times, fall victim to the long ball. With very few indications that Teheran was the beneficiary of a great deal of luck, it seems like we have seen what type of pitcher Teheran can be.

Teheran brought some stability to a rotation that used ten different starters this season including Orioles castoff, Freddy Garcia (how embarrassing!), and Kameron Loe. He pitched 185.2 innings over thirty starts this season, ranking second in innings pitched behind Hyun-Jin Ryu and third in games started after Wily Peralta and Shelby Miller. In addition, Teheran was superb in the second half going 7-3 with a 2.97 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 72.2 innings. He showed remarkable poise for 22 year old rookie and meant more to his team than any other rookie starting pitcher - Miller was excellent but the St. Louis pitching staff was phenomenal, the Marlins were terrible with or without Jose Fernandez and Gerrit Cole was excellent once he got called up but he made 11 fewer starts than Teheran.

Jose Fernandez will probably win the NL Rookie of the Year award. When you look at the stats, it's tough to argue with that decision. However, when considering that Fernandez pitched in a more friendly pitchers' park (at least in terms of home runs) and relatively lower pressure situations, I think you can make a serious case for Teheran. Whether you believe the RoY award should go to the player with the best season or a rising star, it's hard to argue that Teheran doesn't fit the bill.

Making the ROY Case: Jose Fernandez

by Jason Hunt

The Marlins provided the earliest surprise out of Spring Training this year as they promoted their top pitching prospect to the Majors despite not pitching above High-A yet. However, the bigger surprise came with Fernandez not only surviving in the Majors, but being one of the more dominant pitchers in the Majors, let alone a top rookie. Fernandez led all NL rookie starting pitchers in ERA, strikeouts, and WHIP while finishing in the top 5 in innings pitched, strikeouts per 9 innings, strikeout-to-walk ratio, and home runs per 9 innings. For me, he was easily the top rookie in the National League this year, and has emerged as one of the top pitchers in the game today.

Making the ROY Case: Yasiel Puig

by Ray Guilfoyle

The Dodgers were about 9.5 games out of first place when they decided their lineup, decimated with injuries, needed a jolt, and boy did they ever get a jolt.

The Dodgers called up outfield prospect Yasiel Puig on June 3rd, and from that point on, the Dodgers made up those 9.5 games as they won 42 of their next 50 games, and finished the season with an 11 game lead over the second place Diamondbacks. All Puig did from the time he was called up was provide the team with the energy the lineup sorely needed. Puig hit .436 with 7 HRs, 19 runs, 16 RBI and 4 stolen bases in the month of June, winning the player of the month award.

He didn't stop there, either. Here is how he performed in July - September:

July: .287, 3 HRs, 17 runs, 7 RBI, 3 SBs

August: .320, 3 HRs, 17 runs, 8 RBI, 3 SBs

September: .214, 6 HRs, 13 runs, 11 RBI, SB

He finished the season with a power surge in September, albeit with his lowest monthly batting average since his call up. Puig finished the season with a 4.0 WAR in just 104 games played. Among hitters with 300 or more at bats in 2013, Puig ranked just behind teammate Hanley Ramirez with a wRC+ of 160 amongst National League hitters, and 5th among hitters in both leagues.

What is wRC+? From FanGraphs:

Weighted Runs Created (wRC) is an improved version of Bill James’ Runs Created (RC) statistic, which attempted to quantify a player’s total offensive value and measure it by runs. In Runs Created, instead of looking at a player’s line and listing out all the details (e.g. 23 2B, 15 HR, 55 BB, 110 K, 19 SB, 5 CS), the information is synthesized into one metric in order to say, "Player X was worth 24 runs to his team last year." While the idea was sound, James’ formula has since been superseded by Tom Tango’s wRC , which is based off of wOBA.

Similar to OPS+, Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) measures how a player’s wRC compares with league average. League average is 100, and every point above 100 is a percentage point above league average. For example, a 125 wRC+ means a player created 25% more runs than league average. Similarly, every point below 100 is a percentage point below league average, so a 80 wRC+ means a player created 20% fewer runs than league average.

wRC+ is also park and league-adjusted, allowing one to to compare players who played in different years, parks, and leagues. Want to know how Ted Williams compares with Albert Pujols in terms of offensive abilities? This is your statistic.

So, in about 60 less games, Puig created 60% more runs than the league average last season. He is my choice for NL Rookie of the Year, because he helped the Dodgers get out of the NL West cellar, along with Hanley Ramirez. Not many rookies performed at the level Puig did in 2013.

Making the ROY Case: Hyun-Jin Ryu

by Alex Kantecki

Hyun-Jin Ryu led all pitchers not named Jose Fernandez with 3.1 WAR, according to FanGraphs, beating out Julio Teheran (2.4), Gerrit Cole (2.3) and Shelby Miller (2.1). My thoughts on Ryu entering the season went as far as, "Looks like Bartolo Colon." And, weirdly enough, that turned out to be a really good thing in 2013. After Kershaw, Ryu was arguably the Dodgers most valuable starting pitcher, tossing 192 innings with a 3.00 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 154 strikeouts. I struck out by choice in not owning Ryu, who I avoided because of the fear of the unknown -- and that turned out to be a huge mistake. According to the ESPN Player Rater, Ryu finished the year as the 27th best starting pitcher, topping preseason no-brainers like David Price, Cole Hamels and Gio Gonzalez. Ryu's middling strikeouts won't win him any real-life awards, but he's a safe No. 3 in the fantasy world. He reminds me very much of Kris Medlen. He won't win you a fantasy championship, but he'll help get you there.

Making the ROY Case: Shelby Miller

by Brian Creagh

Shelby Miller cracked the St. Louis Cardinals starting rotation right out of spring training and threw 173.1 IP in 31 starts during 2013. This season wasn't his first taste of big league action as Miller threw 13 innings at the very end of 2012 and showed glimpses of the dominant starter he was this season. Miller pitched all of 2013 at 22 years old and only 3.5 years removed from being drafted out of high school with the 19th overall pick in the 2009 draft. Massive expectations have always followed Shelby Miller, from his high draft pick position to finding himself in the Top 50 of Baseball America's Top 100 list in each of the past 4 years (the last two years he's been in the Top 10).

Miller handled the heavy burden of expectation like a professional and somehow managed to overperform during his first full season. His final stat line looked like, 15-9 record, 3.06 ERA (3.67 FIP), 8.8 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 all in the middle of a tight NL Central division race. The last point is important because it is the strongest argument for Shelby Miller over Jose Fernandez. Fernandez has the personality, the better numbers and might ultimately be more deserving of the award, but all of his success was for a last place team that still lost 100 games this season. Miller found himself in far more high-pressure games and proved he could find success at the highest stages of the professional game. That's not to say Jose Fernandez would not have been successful in the same role, but when a player's success mirrors his team's success it should be a point in the player's favor.

The Rookie of the Year will likely go to a well-deserving Jose Fernandez, but Shelby Miller is a close contender and a no-doubt winner in almost any other season. The race is even closer when considering other worth candidates Yasiel Puig, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Julio Teheran, and Gerrit Cole if he would've had a full season. The future star power of the National Leauge appears to be in good hands and it won't be long before these same names are competing for Cy Young and MVP awards.

Below you will find the results of our voting. Note, not all writers submitted a full ballot.

National League Rookie of the Year Award Voting Results

Player

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

Total

Jose Fernandez

8

1

60

Yasiel Puig

1

6

1

33

Shelby Miller

6

18

Julio Teheran

1

3

1

11

Hyun-Jin Ryu

1

1

4

9

Gerrit Cole

1

1

5

Nolan Arenado

1

2

Trevor Rosenthal

1

1

Matt Adams

1

1


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