The winner of the American Leagues Rookie of the Year award will be announced on Monday. Tiger shortstop Jose Iglesias is nominated, along with Rays' outfielder Wil Myers and Rays' pitcher Chris Archer. Who should prevail? Following is a breakdown of the fine seasons that the nominees had during the 2013 season.
Jose Iglesias played a part in helping two different American League teams to win their respective divisions in the 2013 season. Iglesias actually made his debut with the Red Sox during the 2011 season, when he played six games during May, and four in September, but he played only one complete game, with only six plate appearances. . He was called up in late August of 2012, and finished out the season in Boston, starting 24 games and logging 77 plate appearances. He hit just .118 with an on base percentage of .200, but was much better known for his defense than his bat.
In 2013, Iglesias began the season in Boston, was sent to the minors barely a week into the season, and was recalled for good on May 24th, and hit .330 .376 .409 .785 in 234 plate appearances for the Red Sox before being traded to Detroit on July 30th. He added one homer, ten doubles, and three steals. He then hit .259 .306 .348 .654 for the Tigers in 135 plate appearances, giving him a slash line of ..303 .349 .386 .735 with three homers, 16 doubles, and five steals in 109 games for two division winners.His .303 batting average led all AL rookies.
What stands out with Iglesias, though is his defense. He's not just a good fielder, he's simply spectacular. You can look at the numbers, where Iglesias posted an 8.3 UZR/ 150 which would put him third in the league behind the two Escobars, or look at his RZR of .827 which indicates that he turned the second highest percentage of balls hit to the shortstop zone into outs. But I'd rather not use small samples of defensive metrics. Just check out the highlight reels, and I think you can plainly see a truly talented, elite fielding defender positioned at one of the game's most important defensive positions.
Wil Myers was the highest rated prospect in the major leagues on many charts when the Kansas City Royals sent him in a much criticized trade to the Tampa Bay Rays in the deal that sent starting pitcher James Shields to Kansas City. Myers made his debut with the Rays on June 18th and never looked back. He quickly raced out to the lead in the rookie of the year contest, hitting .296 in June, and .352 in July, with seven home runs and five steals.
Myers cooled off in August, hitting just .209, but then got back on track hitting over .300 over the last month of the season. Overall, he turned in a hitting line of .293 .354 .478 with an OPS of .832 and a wOBA of .352 in 373 plate appearances. He led all AL rookies in slugging, OPS, wOBA, and WAR.
Chris Archer made his major league debut in 2012, appearing in six games, including four starts. He was called up for good on June 1st, 2013 for the Rays and made 23 starts, posting a record of 9- 7 with a 3.22 ERA. In 128-2/3 innings, Archer struck out just over seven hitters per nine innings. He was initially drafted by the Cleveland Indians, and was traded to the Chiccago Cubs as part of the deal that brought Mark DeRosa to the Indians. The Cubs traded Archer to the Rays before the 2011 season along with Hak Ju Lee, Sam Fuld, and two other prospects, for Matt Garza and a pair of minor leaguers. The trade is looking good for the Rays.
Archer lacks the star appeal of the other two rookie nominees, and figures to finish third in the voting. All three rookies helped their respective teams to the post season, although that should not figure prominently in voting for this award.
Who would you vote for as the American League Rookie of the Year?