Choosing a top rookie from the American League looks to be tougher than the National League because the position players have far fewer at bats and the pitchers don't have as much sparkling statistics. As in the last post for the National League rookies, we'll look at the top positional rookies and then the pitchers. We'll then try to tie it up in a nice little bow of a conclusion.
The postional candidates include: Elvis Andrus, Gordan Beckham, Nolan Reimold and Matt Wieters. Not a lengthy list, but these guys are the only ones with at least 300 at bats and stats worth looking at. For the pitchers, we have: Brett Anderson, Andrew Bailey, Jeff Niemann and Rick Porcello. Toronto had two good rookies in Cecil and Romero, but their stats don't measure up to those listed above.
Again, we'll start with the positional players. The Fan will list each player followed by some stats. The stats will be OBP, OPS, OPS+, Stolen Bases, UZR (a fielding stat), WAR (worth over replacement) and FanGraph's dollar value:
Elvis Andrus: .331 .705 85 32 (in 38 attempts) 10.1 2.8 $12.8 million
Gordan Beckham: .349 .816 108 7 (in 11 attempts) -2.0 2.0 $9 million
Nolan Reimold: .365 .831 114 8 (in 10 attempts) -10.2 1.0 $4.5 million
Matt Wieters: .345 .762 97 0 (no attempts) NA 1.9 $8.6 million
Comments: Clearly, Reimold was the best hitter of the group, but his defense was poor in a relatively easy position. Wieters suffers from having no value added to his WAR based on fielding other than the positional adjustment. Andrus is the lightest hitting of the bunch but runs the bases well and is a spectacular fielder at an important position.
For the pitchers, the stats will be ERA+, WHIP, FIP, Batting Average Against, K/BB ratio, K9, H9 (homers per nine innings), Wins, WAR and value.
Brett Anderson: 101 1.268 3.67 .264 3.30 7.7 1.0 11 3.8 $17.0 million
Andrew Bailey: 221 .0898 2.59 .176 3.71 9.8 0.6 6 (plus 26 saves) 2.3 $10.4 million
Jeff Neimann: 116 1.349 4.09 .265 2.03 6.1 0.9 12 3.0 $13.4 million
Rick Porcello: 110 1.349 4.81 .270 1.63 4.5 1.2 14 1.7 $7.8 million
Comments: Porcello has the most wins and has spent his year battling in the pennant race. He had perhaps his best game this week against the Twins when it really mattered. Bailey has lights out numbers but his value as a closer will never be as high as a good starter. Both Anderson and Neimann have been great, but Anderson has been better overall.
Conclusions: If Elvis Andrus had a better year at the plate, even a league average year, he would have been the runaway favorite with his superior fielding and base running skills. But his lack of batting stats seem to give the value award to a pitcher.
Rookie of the Year (AL): Brett Anderson. (but the writers will pick Porcello)