This year's race for the 2007 Rookie-of-the-Year focuses on the National League because there are no serious hitters to compete against the obvious success of Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. Because Dice-K has vast professional experience in the increasingly better-than-AAA Japanese leagues, a strong hitter would draw the attention of voters who feel, despite the rules, that Matsuzaka was not truly a rookie. That is not the case as pre-season contenders Delmon Young and Alex Gordon have disappointed so far. Alex Gordon by truly failing, and Delmon Young by not living up to the hype of a 30/30 player. He is on pace for a very good rookie season of 18/96/12/.278 though.
As anyone can tell from the list, the NL has the most attractive hitters. Hunter Pence leads all NL rookies with 40 extra base hits, and Diamondbacks' rookie Chris Young is second with 29. Ryan Braun and Josh Hamilton are 4th and 5th with 27 and 26 XBHs respectively. Hard-charging Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki garners no mention for his quality inaugural season. Yet, if he were in the AL, he'd be mentioned as the top offensive player.
By using XBHs to sort the ROY candidates, I neglect those rookies whose relatively recent recall has not allowed them to accumulate enough ABs to get enough XBHs. Amongst those who could be in the thick of either leagues ROy discussion by year's end are the Royals' Billy Butler, the Braves Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the Dodgers' James Loney and the White Sox' Josh Fields
Who is the early favorite to win the MLB Rookie Hitter of the Year? Vote in the poll on the home page.
|Chris B. Young||ARI||288||38||29||13||31||9||15||54||0.233||0.277||0.427||81.3%|