The newest toy (or tool, depending on seriously you take these things) at the baseball-reference .com Play Index is a Rookie button that allows one to search for rookie seasons only. The tool will not line up perfectly with players who have been considered “rookies” historically because (1) b-ref uses the current MLB rookie definition and applies that uniformly to all seasons going back in time, and (2) b-ref is fudging a bit on the service time part of the rookie definition, so it can be applied within the scope of the data b-ref has. But the results are still very useful and interesting, and with b-ref’s prominent position in the world of historical baseball data these days, I wouldn’t be surprised if b-ref’s approach to defining a “rookie” becomes the standard definition for historical purposes.

Using b-ref’s new Play Index tool, here are (after the jump) the top rookie seasons by non-pitchers (1901-2012) for each current franchise, by season Wins Above Replacement (using the b-ref version of WAR of course):

Angels: Mike Trout (2012) 10.7
Orioles: Bobby Grich (1972) 5.6
Red Sox: Fred Lynn (1975) 7.1
White Sox: Tommie Agee (1966) 6.0
Indians: Shoeless Joe Jackson (1911) 9.0
Tigers: Donnie Bush (1909) 6.2
Royals: Kevin Seitzer (1987) 5.3
Twins: Tony Oliva (1964) 6.6
Yankees: Thurman Munson (1970) 5.3
A’s: Mitchell Page (1977) 5.8
Mariners: Ichiro Suzuki (2001) 7.5 (or Alvin Davis in 1984 with 5.7, if you don’t really consider Ichiro in 2001 a rookie)
Rays: Evan Longoria (2008) 4.5
Rangers: Bump Wills (1977) 5.0
Blue Jays: Eric Hinske (2002) 3.6
D’Backs: Alex Cintron (2003) 2.5
Braves: Jason Heyward (2010) 6.3
Cubs: Charlie Hollocher (1918) 5.0
Reds: Vada Pinson (1959) 6.3
Rockies: Troy Tulowitzki (2007) 6.5
Marlins: Hanley Ramirez (2006) 4.6
Astros: Joe Morgan (1965) 5.4
Dodgers: Mike Piazza (1993) 6.8
Brewers: Pat Listach (1992) 4.2
Mets: Ike Davis (2010) 3.1
Phils: Richie Allen (1964) 8.5
Pirates: Glenn Wright (1924) 5.5
Padres: Roberto Alomar (1988) 4.1
Giants: Jim Ray Hart (1964) 4.9
Cardinals: Albert Pujols (2001) 6.3
Nationals: Bryce Harper (2012) 5.0

UPDATE:

Combining both the everyday players on the original list above with the pitchers on Doug’s list in the comments, we can get a table of the very highest rookie WAR season for each franchise, using the higher of the top everyday player WAR and the top pitcher WAR:

FranchiseFirst NameLast NameYearWAR
AthleticsScottPerry19188.2
AngelsMikeTrout201210.7
AstrosJoeMorgan19655.4
Blue JaysMarkEichhorn19867.1
BravesIrvYoung19058.8
BrewersPatListach19924.2
CardinalsAlbertPujols20016.3
CubsEdReulbach19058
D’BacksBrandonWebb20036
DodgersJeffPfeffer19147.4
GiantsChristyMathewson19018.7
IndiansShoeless JoeJackson19119
MarinersIchiroSuzuki20017.5
MarlinsHanleyRamirez20064.6
MetsJerryKoosman19686.2
NationalsBryceHarper20125
OriolesBobbyGrich19725.6
PadresRobertoAlomar19884.1
PhilsGregMcQuillan19089
PiratesCyBlanton19357
RangersBumpWills19775
RaysEvanLongoria20084.5
Red SoxFredLynn19757.1
RedsVadaPinson19596.3
RockiesTroyTulowitzki20076.5
RoyalsKevinSeitzer19875.3
TigersMarkFidrych19769.3
TwinsTonyOliva19646.6
White SoxRebRussell19138.5
YankeesRussFord191010.6

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