Hello as always, HHSers! Dr. Doom here again.
Let’s get to the main event: the minor awards. Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year, in both leagues. They may be the hardest to evaluate, and the ones that are most likely to make you throw up your hands and shout, “Oh who knows?!” So let’s hop to it with some thoughts!
In the NL, the media will tell you that it looks to be a battle between Ronald Acuna and Juan Soto for rookie honors. Don’t sleep on everyone else, though. Harrison Bader plays astonishing CF and hasn’t been bad with the bat. Another Cardinal, Jack Flaherty, has turned in a pretty great season – about 150 innings with a 3.34 ERA ain’t bad for a rookie. Even better was Walker Buehler with 3.4 WAR and 2.62 ERA in 23 starts and 137.1 IP. Others to consider include Brian Anderson (3.9 WAR) and Dereck Rodriguez (2.81 ERA in 19 starts and 118.1 IP). But remember, your ballot has only three slots.
Over in the Junior Circuit, Shohei Otani grabbed the headlines early, and with good reason. However, the AL rookie WAR leader, with a creditable 4.3 score (3.7 on FanGraphs), was (senior citizen) Joey Wendle, a 28-year-old who played all over the diamond. Brad Keller, a “swing-man” for the Royals, put up a nice 3.08 ERA in 140 innings (other notables with rookie seasons of 20+ starts and 20+ relief appearances include Orel Hershiser, Dean Chance and Mike Garcia). The only rookie All-Star was Gleyber Torres with his .275/.343/.482 slash playing 2B and SS on the big stage in the Bronx next to Miguel Andujar, he of the 47 doubles (tied with Fred Lynn for the AL rookie record) and 27 dingers. And, don’t forget Ryan Yarborough in Tampa with 147.1 IP and 16 wins; those totals are the most for any reliever (80% of appearances), never mind a rookie, since, respectively, 1991 and 1977.
As for managers… well, what do you like? Do you like those guys who’ve met high expectations in the AL, like Alex Cora, A.J. Hinch, or Aaron Boone. Or, are you a fan of Bob Melvin‘s overperforming A’s? In the NL, do you think Dave Roberts overcame the most injuries and deserves credit for bringing the Dodgers as far as they’ve gotten? Do you want to reward Bud Black, Craig Counsell, or Brian Snitker for getting their teams there a year or two before they were supposed to get there? Or maybe Mike Schildt, for turning around a .500 Cardinal team and almost taking them to the post-season? Or do you think the grand Gabe Kapler experiment has been enough of a success to merit a vote, despite a late-season collapse? Let us know!
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