One year removed from one of the more dominant rookie seasons by a 20-year-old (Mike Trout) and perhaps the most hyped debut of prospect in quite some time (Bryce Harper), this season’s rookie class, with a handful of exceptions, has been incredibly weak.
Here’s a look at the top 10 rookies from the American League. And, remember, this isn’t about the best long term potential; it’s about the top performing rookies this season.
1. Wil Myers, Tampa Bay Rays, RF
The easy choice for AL Rookie of the Year, despite logging fewer than 60 big league games to date. Myers is hitting .286/.347/.446 with nine doubles, nine homeruns, and five stolen bases (in six attempts). He’s showing a solid-average eye at the plate (9.5% BB-rate) and good pop. According to Weighted Runs Created Plus, his total offensive production has been 21% better than the league average.
2. Jose Iglesias, Detroit Tigers, SS
A glove-first shortstop who’s somehow managed to hit over .300 in 320+ plate appearances this season despite owning a career .257/.307/.314 line in the minor leagues. Ah, the vagaries of BABIP – particularly those that reside north of .360. He should man the position for Detroit for the better part of a decade.
3. Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays, RHP
I’ve never been a particularly huge fan of Archer’s. At the end of July I detailed how the rookie right-hander has been good, but quite a bit lucky too. His 2.81 ERA is more than 1.5 runs lower than his expected performance (4.27 Skill Independent ERA). This season’s also been a bit odd for Archer too. He’s not missing as many bats as he typically has in the minors, but his control has vastly – VASTLY – improved.
4. Brad Miller, Seattle Mariners, SS
Both solid at the bat and in the field, Miller has totaled 1.0 fWAR in just under one-third of a full big league season. The former second rounder out of Clemson is hitting .264/.323/.421 with nine doubles, five triples, five homeruns, and a trio of stolen bases. He’s likely to develop into a solid, underrated player for Seattle for many years.
5. Dan Straily, Oakland A’s, RHP
A bigger fan of Straily’s than most, the Oakland right-hander has been solid, but far from spectacular. Like Archer, he’s not missing the amount of bats that his minor league track record would suggest. But unlike Archer, his command has taken a step back in the big leagues.
6. Nick Tepesch Texas Rangers, RHP
Tepesch has decent peripherals – 7.38 K/9 and 2.43 BB/9 – but has been plagued by quite a bit of bad luck, namely a low strand rate (68.2%) and a wonky HR/9 (1.16). His SIERA (3.73) is more than one full run lower than his actual ERA (4.85).
7. David Lough, Kansas City Royals, RF
Playing completely over his head this season and would be nothing more than a fourth or fifth outfielder on a playoff caliber team. Still, though, Lough’s batting .288/.307/.406. His atrocious walk rate, 2.8%, is among the worst in the league.
8. Danny Farquhar, Seattle Mariners, RHP
In an extremely thin AL rookie class, Farquhar is one of three relievers to make it in the top 10 this year. His overall performance has been masked by a poor ERA (4.67), but his peripherals – 13.80 K/9 and 3.05 BB/9 – are quite impressive. His Skill Independent ERA, or SIERA, is a sparkling 1.97. And his 1.7 fWAR is good for 10th among all relievers.
9. Alex Torres, Tampa Bay Rays, RHP
Look! Another story of a failed starter with ridiculously high strikeout and walk rates turned dominant reliever. Torres has been sensational for the Rays this season, posting a miniscule 1.27 ERA to go along with matching peripherals (11.18 K/9, 3.38 BB/9, and a 2.50 SIERA).
10. Cody Allen, Cleveland Indians, RHP
Well used already at this point, Allen, who’s made 59 appearances has punched out 72 and walked 24 in 57.1 innings. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him ascend to the closer’s role when the Tribe trades Chris Perez this offseason.
Photo of Wil Myers Courtesy of Brita Meng Outzen via MLB.com