July 24, 2012

Reds contending for Rookie of the Year

Last Game
The Astros are in a bad way. They were already the worst team in the game, or among them anyway, even before they traded away many of their best players. I know they’re in rebuilding mode and reinventing themselves for the move to the AL next season, but in my imagination they were saying “save yourselves!” to those guys. They’re now 1-9 in their last 10.

So it’s probably no surprise that the first place Reds put the hurt on them last night and ended up winning 8-3. Mat Latos even twisted his ankle in the fifth but they let him stick it out to qualify for the win. I mean, what was going to happen?

Next Game
The Reds continue against the Astros tonight. I’m afraid the ‘Stros are going to be due sooner or later, but even regressing to their norm only means winning 35% of the games. Mike Leake (RHP, 3-6, 4.25 ERA) takes on Lucas Harrell (RHP, 7-7, 4.24 ERA).

Frazier for Rookie of the Year
I wanted to take a look at Todd Frazier’s Rookie of the Year chances. His offensive numbers are extremely favorable compared to last year’s NL ROY, but last year’s ROY was a relief pitcher without a single at-bat. He’s infinitely better at the plate than that.

Last year’s second place vote-getter, though, was Freddie Freeman of the Braves, who played first base. Numbers in italics are projected out to a 162-game season:

Guy Team Line HRs RBI Runs WAR Notes
Todd Frazier CIN .285/.347/.542 17 HR 56 RBI 46 R 1.6 WAR No one’s mentioning his name except Reds fans on Twitter, but Frazier’s putting together a good case for himself.
2011 Freddie Freeman ATL .282/.346/.448 21 HR 76 RBI 67 R 1.1 WAR Last year’s second-place vote getter for the ROY is putting together a good season now, but these are numbers from last year.
Bryce Harper WSN .272/.343/.449 15 HR 49 RBI 84 R 1.8 WAR Of course, the hype this year all goes to Bryce Harper, who is having a pretty darn good year for a 19-year old.
Zack Cozart CIN .245/.292/.399 17 HR 34 RBI 84 R 1.6 WAR It’s nice that Cozart has made the “what are we going to do about short?” question moot.

The fact that Harper is 7 years younger and has been a highlight of the Nationals’ marketing efforts will be to his advantage. It’s a whole lot easier to remember Harper than the guy Dusty Baker couldn’t consistently find playing time for until Joey Votto got hurt.

Cozart’s numbers don’t look as strong, but he’s a shortstop, so his defense ought to weigh in a little more. His name is consistently in ROY discussions, which is certainly helped by the fact that he’s on pace for about 660 PAs. Frazier, on the other hand, is only on pace for about 400.

What to Say to Sound Smart at the Water Cooler
Gary Busey’s character in the movie Rookie of the Year was nicknamed Rocket and based on Roger Clemens.

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