Wednesday, September 30, 2009

National League Rookie of the Year

With the end in sight for the regular season, it's usually common to start speculating about the award season. The MVPs for each league seem pretty much set with Mauer and Pujols. The AL Cy Young should go to Greinke. The NL Cy Young still seems a bit hazy. For Rookie of the Year, there are no runaway performers and the debate will rage between pitchers and position players. For this post, let's see if we can get a hard statistical eye on the rookies this year.

For position players, the field seems to narrow down to Chris Coghlan, Andrew McCutchen, Dexter Fowler and Casey McGehee. For pitchers, the only three worth boiling down to are J. A. Happ, Randy Wells and Tommy Hanson.

Let's start with the position 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:

Chris Coghlan: .389 .835 121 7 (in 11 attempts) -12.8 1.8 $8.2 million
Andrew McCutchen: .358 .831 122 17 (in 21 attempts) -0.4 3.1 $13.8 million
Dexter Fowler: .366 .773 99 27 (in 37 attempts) -12.6 0.8 $3.4 million
Casey McGehee: .364 .867 126 0 (in 2 attempts) -5 2.1 $9.4 million

Comments: The numbers seem to exclude Fowler. Coghlan and McCutchen both lead off for their teams. As such, Coghlan has the superior On Base Percentage, which is what you want from the lead off guy. McCutchen does more once he is on the bases. Coghlan had never played outfield before this season and his terrible UZR is explained that way. McGehee out slugs his competition and as such is a valuable middle of the line up kind of guy.

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.

J. A. Happ: 154 1.200 4.22 .236 2.07 6.4 1.0 12 1.8 $8.1
Randy Wells: 138 1.307 4.02 .266 2.09 5.34 0.8 11 2.6 $11.9
Tommy Hanson: 140 1.193 3.57 .229 2.43 8.0 0.7 11 2.3 $10.5

Comments: Happ and Wells have significantly more innings pitched than Hanson which is a factor in Hanson's value.

Final verdict: Of all the players we evaluated in the National League, McCutchen has the highest value according to FanGraphs. The problem for the Fan in selecting him is the OBP for a lead off guy. All three pitchers have been outstanding. Happ's ERA+ is so much higher than the other two. But in the end, Hanson has better overall stats across the board. More strike outs per nine, less homers per nine, lower FIP, lower batting average against, lower homer per nine, higher K/9 and K/BB and the lowest WHIP. Plus, Hanson has been a stud down the stretch for the Braves.

The Fan's choice: Tommy Hanson

We'll look at the American League in the next post.

1 comment:

Josh Borenstein said...

Tough choice in the NL. I'm glad you mentioned Randy Wells. The guy has really flown under the radar. Not that I'd vote for him, but he deserves to be in the discussion.

Of the position players, I like Coghlan the most. This kid is special. Normally, he'd be a slam dunk. I like McGehee for the simple reason that the Cubs gave up on him and he has flourished in Milwaukee. But I think he's overachieved, and I don't know if he'll be able to repeat the success he's had this year. I hope he can, though.

Of the pitchers, I like Happ the most. He's logged 44 more innings than Hanson, been more consistent, thrown 2 complete game shutouts, and pitches in a bandbox.

My vote would go to Happ.