MLB Rookie of the Year watch: Fulmer leads the pack in AL

Trevor Smith

Sports Blogger

@bigtsmith01

American League

Michael Fulmer, pitcher, Detroit Tigers

Detroit Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer is leading the pack in the American League Rookie of the Year race. (Keith Allison, Flickr)
Detroit Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer is leading the pack in the American League Rookie of the Year race.
(Keith Allison, Flickr)

For Fulmer, his rookie season has gone about as well as you could ask for. He’s the front-runner for AL Rookie of the Year, and has had his name thrown around in Cy Young talk. Fulmer’s boasting a 2.69 ERA with a 10-5 record. Fulmer also has a 1.064 WHIP which is in the top tier for rookies. He looks to strengthen his lead in the last part of the season.

Tyler Naquin, centerfield, Cleveland Indians

Naquin has found himself on a strong team, contending for a title in his rookie year. He has, more importantly, found himself contributing to their winning ways. With a .303 batting average, Naquin has shown people he can be a steady hitter in the lineup. He also has 14 home runs for the Indians this year and 39 RBIs. Even with all these stats, Naquin is in second place for the AL Rookie of the Year, but Naquin and the Indians are firmly in a race for the World Series title.

Max Kepler, right field, Minnesota Twins

Kepler is the only bright spot for the Twins this year. Although he’s on one of the worst teams in baseball, Kepler has flourished this year. He is sporting a .250 batting average with 15 home runs. The German born Kepler came out of nowhere for the Twins after outshining Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano, the so-called saviors of the Twins. The sky is the limit for this young kid, who could be the face of the Twins in the future.

NL Rookie of the Year

Corey Seager, shortstop, Los Angeles Dodgers

Seager is next in line on a list of great rookies who came out of the Dodgers farm system. After Joc Pederson’s impressive rookie season, fans were wondering who was next for the Dodgers. That honor has gone to Seager, a shortstop who has firmly planted himself atop the race for Rookie of the Year. Boasting a .321 batting average with 23 home runs, Seager is showing why he was called up at only 22. He also has an impressive .920 OPS, which shows he reaches base at a consistent level. Look for Seager to increase his lead, and in a few years, look for this youngster to vie for an MVP award.

Aledmys Diaz, shortstop, St. Louis Cardinals

Diaz is a bit of a dark horse in this year’s race for Rookie of the Year honors. Coming into the season, not many knew of Diaz or that he would become one of the top rookies this year. Diaz has a solid .312 batting average and 57 RBI’s with a .894 OPS this year. These stats have propelled Diaz to being arguably the second-best rookie shortstop in the league after Colorado’s Trevor Story, whose season ended with a torn ligament in his left thumb Aug. 2. Diaz will continue to grow and continue the line of good shortstops for the Cardinals, but look for Diaz to make a push late for the award.

Steven Matz, pitcher, New York Mets

Joining an MLB  pitching staff as a rookie is hard enough, but when the staff is that of the New York Mets it makes it 10-times more difficult. However, Matz did just that and has a really solid stat line with a 9-8 record and 3.40 ERA. Matz put himself in consideration for Rookie of the Year in a tough division against some of the best hitters in the league. Matz probably won’t win Rookie of the Year this season, but he is easily one of the best rookie pitchers in the NL. The future is bright for this young pitcher, who will be learning from some of the best throwers in the majors. Look for Matz in the Cy Young race in a few years if he keeps up this production.

ozone@ocolly.com

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