Handicapping the NL Rookie Of The Year Race

The 2016 National League Rookie Of The Year race could be over before it even begins. Can anyone top Los Angeles Dodgers SS Corey Seager?

The 2016 rookie class was filled with a plethora of young talent that contributed to their team’s success.  For the Pirates specifically, rookies such as Jameson Taillon, Chad Kuhl, Josh Bell, and Adam Frazier contributed to the team’s moderate success this season.  That being said, none of those players will have a realistic shot at winning the NL Rookie of the Year.  In fact, only one player has a realistic shot at taking the award.  His name is Corey Seager.

A Look at Corey Seager

  • Seager led all qualified rookies in batting average (.308), hits (193), doubles (40), runs (105), slugging percentage (.512), and OPS (.877).  He only trailed Colorado’s Trevor Story by one home run (27 to 26).  They tied in RBIs with 72 apiece.  Corey Seager led all rookies with 627 at bats.  Brandon Drury was second among NL rookies with 461.
  • Along with leading NL rookies in almost every category, Seager also led his team in batting average, slugging percentage, OPS, hits, runs, and doubles.  He was the best position player on his team.  His team fell just two games short of the World Series.
  • Corey Seager also plays shortstop.  In the age of great young shortstops such as Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, and Addison Russell, Corey Seager may very well end up being the best.
  • Seager will not only win the NL ROY, he will also receive MVP votes.  This 22 year old truly is a budding superstar.

So who will finish 2-5?

2.) Kenta Maeda

  • Going into the season, the Dodgers were pretty thin in terms of starting pitching due to injuries.  Kenta Maeda was to be the number two starter and he did not dissapoint.
  • Maeda led NL rookie pitchers in innings pitched (175.2) and was second in strikeouts (179).  His 3.48 ERA was the best amoung qualified NL rookies.  At age 28, Kenta Maeda established himself as a reliable right-handed starter in a Dodger rotation that is mainly dominated by lefties.  Going forward, he will likely remain the number two starter.

3.) Aledmys Diaz

  • Diaz literally came out of nowhere.  After hitting .264 in AA in 2015, the 26 year old got his chance this season when Johnny Peralta went down in Spring Training with an injury.
  • Diaz was great this year.  In 404 at bats, he slashed .300/.369/.510 with 17 home runs.  He registered 41 walks while striking out only 60 times.  Aledmys Diaz even earned himself an All-Star appearance this year.  Who would expect anything less from a St. Louis Cardinal?

4.) Trevor Story

  • We all remember how Story bursted onto the scene hitting seven home runs in his first six games.  Some including myself thought he would eventually fizzle out.  He didn’t.
  • Story led all rookies in home runs with 27 hitting a home run once every 13.78 at bats.  That would’ve been good for fifth in the Majors if he had the qualified number of at bats.  Story played his last game of the season on July 30.  He missed two months.  Had he played, Story would’ve easily passed the 30 home run mark with a realistic shot at 40.  That would’ve made the NL ROY race look a whole lot closer.

5.) Trea Turner

  • Like Story, Trea Turner missed two months of the season but for a different reason.  He was called up and made his debut on June 3.  Our fourth shortstop on this list was excellent this year.
  • In 307 at bats, Turner slashed .342/.370/.567 with 13 home runs and 33 steals.  He has a great combination of hitting, power, speed, and defense.  He truly is a true five-tool player.  Let’s not forget that he was drafted by the Pirates in 2011 but did not sign.  Darn.  Once again, if Trey Turner had played a full season in the bigs this year, the NL ROY race would have been close.

Honorable Mentions

  • Brandon Drury – The third baseman in Arizona quietly put together a productive season smacking 16 home runs while slashing .282/.329/.458.  Drury finished the season strong hitting .341 with five home runs in September.
  • Jameson Taillon – As we know, Taillon was one of the few bright spots for the Pirates this season.  Over 104 innings pitched, Jameson struck out 85 batters while walking only 17.  Going into next season, Taillon could emerge as the ace of the staff.
  • Steven Matz – The 25 year old lefty carried a 3.40 ERA over 132.1 innings pitched.  He struck out 129 batters and walked 31.  Matz is one of many young studs in the Mets’ rotation.