Dieter Kurtenbach (nice last name!) of Fox Sports believes that Gary Sanchez should win the rookie of the year award in the American League. That’s fine! Sanchez has 19 home runs in 44 games. That’s pretty great. There’s nothing wrong with having sports opinions. It’s what we do around here, too.
Sanchez might not have even half a season under his belt, but his cumulative stats stack up against the best rookies in the American League this year. His percentages are absurd — he boasts a near-Bondsian 1.157 OPS this season, but let's ignore those.
Normally, Sanchez’ short-season candidacy would be buried by other elite rookies, but the American League has been particularly poor in first-year performers in 2016.
Kurtenbach (still a nice last name) goes on to say his reason is because Sanchez has 3 WAR, while AL competition like, say, Detroit starting pitcher Michael Fulmer, has 2.6 of the notoriously awful at judging pitchers (Fangraphs) WAR. (He’s 4.7 at Baseball Reference, if you wonder. Sanchez is at 3.2.)
Clearly an open-and-shut case!
The cumulative numbers are more than enough to stand on their own against full-season rookies. The only thing going against Sanchez is editorialized extrapolation, which, given Sanchez’s incredibly positive start, logically trends negative.
Well, for some reason Tigers ace and 2011 AL MVP Justin Verlander disagreed. Then we got out the popcorn.
/consults the archives.
the American League has been particularly poor in first-year performers in 2016
So, not quite what he said. But ...
How can you say he's been "poor" then? And I'm guessing you haven't watched him much. If he were in NY it'd be diff https://t.co/Bf6kbMCV4h— Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) September 23, 2016
Rookie of the.......... wait for it......... YEAR. Year I believe is a key word there. @dkurtenbach— Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) September 23, 2016
@JustinVerlander Fulmer: 24 games. Sanchez: 44 games.— Dieter Kurtenbach (@dkurtenbach) September 23, 2016
Sanchez: 192 plate appearances.
Fulmer: 600 batters faced.
We can use numbers, too.
Kershaw and I won MVP's so basically you're just saying pitchers can't win awards now?? I hope you don't have a vote https://t.co/PKIBf45EDn— Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) September 23, 2016
And this is where Justin Verlander checked out, having clearly won and having better things to do.
So now we’re judging Sanchez by what happened and Fulmer by “what should have happened,” if you’re playing along at home.
@dkurtenbach If Fulmer played for a big market media loved team like the Yankees, You would be supporting him. Everyone loves hating Detroit— Scruffy The Janitor (@BrettKabot) September 23, 2016
You’re confusing hatred for apathy. https://t.co/RS2BOk37y4— Dieter Kurtenbach (@dkurtenbach) September 23, 2016
Yeah, well, OK. Now I hope he doesn’t have a vote, too.
Like I said, you can believe that Sanchez is the rookie of the year if you like. There’s nothing wrong with saying both players had good, um, seasons, and people are free to have differing criteria.
Just try to do a better job arguing your case than Dieter. I’m suddenly feeling a little apathetic at caring what he thinks.