By August 19th it seemed as though Jason Heyward had all but fallen out of contention for NL Rookie of the Year. Although the Braves’ right fielder was still having an impressive season for a twenty year old at that point, several other National League rookies had been better. But in his past twenty-three games, Heyward has hit to the ridiculous tune of .422/.523/.678 and jumped right back into the discussion. And with just eighteen games left to play, only Buster Posey and Jaime Garcia have a realistic chance of winning the award over him.
From a performance efficiency standpoint, it could be argued that Posey has been better than J Hey. Both he and Heyward have nearly identical on-base plus slugging percentages, but Posey has posted his while catching. He also has a higher homerun per plate appearance ratio and batting average (although a significantly worse OBP but “old school” voters may not even consider this). However, Heyward has the advantage of having started the season in the Major Leagues while Posey was not called up until late May. By that time Heyward had already won two consecutive Rookie of the Month awards and was on an absolute tear. This gave him a head start on Posey that has translated into a higher value. While their levels of production are nearly identical, Heyward has played in significantly more games and therefore given more to the Braves than Posey to the Giants.
Comparing Heyward to Garcia, a pitcher, is difficult to do. Garcia, like Heyward, has been in the majors since April and has been very impressive. A 13-7 record and 2.69 ERA make him a strong contender for the award, but peripheral statistics suggest that his ERA has benefited from strong fielding and a little luck. How writers will vote is anyone’s guess, but Heyward has a considerable “hype” advantage. No rookie, with the exception of Strasburg, has been covered by the media more over the course of the season. The final eighteen games may go a long way in deciding who wins the award, but right now my money is on Heyward.
Tags: 2010, Buster Posey, Jaime Garcia, Jason Heyward, National League, NL ROY, Rookie of the Year
Posted in Speculation | 2 Comments »