Who are the Rookie of the Year candidates?

May 25, 2016

It has been a great first two months for rookie performances in baseball, but it has not been the rookies many expected. Several elite prospects like Byron Buxton and Jose Berrios have struggled since their debuts and have landed back in the minors, but that has opened the door for some surprising and fun rookie leaders. To get a handle on the players who could be on track to win the NL and AL Rookie of the Year Awards, we’ve put together a pair of leaderboards based on Total Runs—a measure of player value based on his offensive, defensive, pitching, and baserunning contributions. Let’s start with the NL.

NL ROY Candidates - May 25, 2016
Total Runs
Player Offense Pitching Baserunning Defense Pos Adj. Total Runs
Trevor Story 33 0 -1 2 9 43
Aledmys Diaz 30 0 1 -2 8 37
Corey Seager 26 0 1 -1 10 36
Kenta Maeda 1 24 0 -1 1 25
Steven Matz 1 23 0 -1 0 23


The NL has the majority of the heavyweight Rookie of the Year candidates, headlined by April MVP Trevor Story and former top prospect Corey Seager. Even though Story has just 2 home runs since the start of May compared to 10 in April, he still sets the pace. Story’s bat sets him apart, but the most surprising part of Story’s game is actually his defense. Never touted for his glove in the minors, Story has saved the Rockies two runs at shortstop, helping the team overcome the losses of Troy Tulowitzki from last year’s trade and Jose Reyes from this year’s injury and suspension.

Next, here are the AL rookie Total Runs leaders.

AL ROY Candidates - May 25, 2016
Total Runs
Player Offense Pitching Baserunning Defense Pos Adj. Total Runs
Nomar Mazara 24 0 -3 4 5 30
Byung-ho Park 20 0 1 1 1 23
Tyler White 17 0 0 1 2 20
Joey Rickard 19 0 1 -7 5 18
Chris Devenski 0 15 0 -1 0 14


The AL lags behind the NL in Total Runs, but that is slightly deceptive because Nomar Mazara did not start the season in the majors and has just 162 plate appearances (compared to 196 for Story, as an example). Mazara has certainly made the most of his fewer opportunities, producing 24 offensive runs on the strength of a .317/.364/.483 triple slash that includes seven home runs. In addition, Mazara has saved four runs defensively split between the corner outfield spots. Having just called up slugging prospect Joey Gallo, the Rangers could end up having the two favorites for the AL Rookie of the Year before all is said and done.


COMMENTS (3 Comments, most recent shown first)

Yeah, what he said. What are Total Runs and how can Maeda be ahead of Matz at May 25 like the chart says?

As of today:

Maeda: 3-3, 3.29 ERA, 48 Ks
Matz 7-1, 2.36 ERA, 50 ks

Going back into last year? Maeda didn't play, Matz was 4-0.

Matz got blown out opening day and since has won each of his six starts, with a 1.13 ERA. Maeda started 3-0, but has collapsed since April 25, going 0-3 with a 6.08 ERA.

Matz ha a WAR of 2.8, Maeda has a WAR of 1.0.

Matz is batting .188, Maeda is batting 133.

Maeda has a fielding error, Matz doesn't. Maeda is given a point for fielding adjustment, although they are both NL pitchers with about the same innings and chances.

So what gives? Did the stat collection end back in April? The 162 plate appearances mentioned for Mazara takes him to this week.

It's the super delegates, right? The gdam superdelegates are going to steal this from Matz....​
6:54 AM May 27th
Has history shown the ROY going to the favorite (Seager) or the kid from out of left field (Story), all things being equal?
8:32 PM May 26th
Just wanted to say, those numbers look very similar to full-season Win Share numbers -- a bit higher, but similar -- which gives them an extra user-friendliness, at least to people who are pretty familiar with Win Share numbers.

I'm figuring it's no coincidence -- not that it's in any way by design or because of any direct relation between "Total Runs" and Win Shares. In fact, I have no idea what "total runs" are -- how they're figured or what they represent.

But I guess this: The fraction of a "Total Run" that is approximately equal or comparable to a Win Share happens to be very close to the fraction of the season that has occurred so far, which I think would inherently make the results come out the way they do.

BTW I'm aware that what I'm saying depends on it being possible to state any ratio between Total Runs and Win Shares, and that this might not be so.
10:23 PM May 25th
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