The Year of the Rookie: The Hitters

September 18, 2007 at 11:08 am 32 comments

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It’s hard to go back in our memory banks and try to remember a season in which the play of the rookie was so important and dominant. You can pull single players who had great rookie seasons like Albert Pujols, Ichiro, Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Carlos Beltran, and many others, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a season that displayed so many good rookies. The 2007 season is so rich with rookie talent that I’ll have to break it up into 4 categories: Hitters (min 400 pa), Starting Pitchers, Relief Pitchers, and Hitters (under 400 pa). So here we go with the hitters with at least 400 plate appearances:


You can see that Ryan Braun frickin’ owns in hitting this year. His defense is another question. Troy Tulowitzki is my Rookie of the Year though. He has great stats at a defensive position and could possibly win the Gold Glove award too. Tulo has done all this while contending for the playoffs and he hasn’t shown any sign of wear as the season has gone on.

One common problem with the hitters has been plate discipline. Only Pedroia and Willits really own good BB/K rates with a few guys that have decent ones. For some like Braun, both Youngs, Kouz, and Gordon you see awful, I mean AWFUL BB/K rates. But this isn’t very uncommon for rookies. They will have to work on those numbers to be more effective in the future.

We have some potential superstars in this group and none in this group should be anything less than a big league regular with the exception of Willits who has very little to no power.

A few players may need position changes soon. Braun would be best suited for a corner OF spot. Kouzmanoff might need to go to 1B but is blocked in SD. Everyone else is very good at their positions. Tulo will win Gold Gloves in his future as should Delmon Young who may have the best arm in the Majors. Aki is great with the glove as is Chris Young.

Overall this is an incredible year for rookie hitters. I see some potential stars and even more potential superstars. Maybe even a hall of famer or two in this year’s rookie crop.

-Jonathan C. Mitchell

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32 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Brittney  |  September 18, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    Wow,the hitters are tough ones to choose from haha I’d say it’s a tie between Dustin Pedroia and Ryan Braun…yeah.

  • 2. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  September 18, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    Ryan Braun is just ridiculous! 57 XBH and 83 RBI in just 400 at-bats. Pedroia has been great with his plate discipline, he has more walks than strikeouts.

  • 3. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  September 18, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    Brittney, did you vote for Moylan?

  • 4. Eddie  |  September 18, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    I like willits i honestly think you are under rating him for one reason. The angels have had many injuries and the only reason he plays 6 out of the 7 days a week its because when he was called upon early in the year like when figgins was out he made the best of his time and was solid.. i mean look at those number there pretty solid. Id like to vote for him but i just cant because Pedroia is tearing it up. I think willits can be a star because hes a good hitter and a patient one too and is super fast although he has to work on defense. and pedroia will be an AWESOME infielder.

  • 5. Eddie  |  September 18, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    oh i vote for tulowitski.. i spelled it wrong but i like his name so i vote for him cuz of his name lol and i vote for pedroia

  • 6. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  September 18, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    I still haven’t decided who I will vote for in the AL for overall R.O.Y.

    On Willits: he’s fast, he has great plate discipline, and he’s fast. But that’s about it. He has ZERO power and needs some help judging the ball off the bat better on defense. He is a very good 4th OF and could fill in incase of injury and he’ll add a different dimension to your team but I don’t think he is anything more than a regular starter at best.

  • 7. Ryan  |  September 18, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    Dustin Pedroia!!!!!!!

    GO RED SOX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 8. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  September 18, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    Ah, a Red Sox fan… Pedroia has been very good. He works counts, doesn’t make many extra outs (caught stealing, thrown out, double plays), rarely strikes out, and coaches love him. I’m glad the Sox finally gave him a chance to play everyday.

  • 9. Eddie  |  September 18, 2007 at 5:44 pm

    i hate the sox but i love pedroia the guy is awesome he’ll be good for many years to come

  • 10. Tyler  |  September 18, 2007 at 6:02 pm

    As a Sox fan, I get the priviliage of watching Pedrioa play. He always makes spectacular diving catches, always gives tough at bats as well. Doesnt have much for power, but is an all around great player. You dont really think of him as a rookie, it just seems like hes been around for a while, which is why, in my mind, hes the AL Rookie of the year

  • 11. Tyler  |  September 18, 2007 at 6:08 pm

    Oh and plus, Pedrioa has 120 less AB’s then Delmon Young, which means if they had equal playing time, pedrioa would be much closer in the power numbers

  • 12. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  September 18, 2007 at 6:10 pm

    Pedroia is going to be very good for years to come. His plate discipline and eye are so good. He won’t be a star though, he doesn’t have enough power, but he’ll be a very good player, maybe make a few All-Star games.

  • 13. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  September 18, 2007 at 6:14 pm

    Tyler – Great point on Pedroia not really looking like a rookie. I actually forget that when I watch his at-bats. He makes good diving catches but his range isn’t the best, just average. Delmon Young will have WAY more power in a year or two. Delmon is also a little more than 2 years younger than Pedroia. Delmon could be a Hall of Famer but will probably end up with a reputation like Bonds minus the steroids.

  • 14. Adam  |  September 18, 2007 at 6:38 pm

    I have to go with my boy, Pedroia. I used to watch him in the minors, and just be amazed at how mature he looked when he played, and he’s no different this year. He really looks and acts as if he’s been around for years now.

  • 15. Tyler  |  September 18, 2007 at 6:39 pm

    Yea I agree Delmon Young will be a star, but I really like Pedrioa in that he will most likely be a rock of a player for the next decade or more. Pedrioa may not be a star all aroun the league, but he will definately be a star with red sox fans, I know that much.

  • 16. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  September 19, 2007 at 4:52 am

    I agree 100% that Pedroia is a very mature rookie. He will definitely be a solid regular for the Red Sox for a long time, I just hope they don’t trade him and play someone else. Pedroia is a special player.

  • 17. Erik  |  September 19, 2007 at 8:37 am

    Ryan Braun is Hands down the R.O.Y. in the NL. Sure other rookies can make a case but Braun has done it in fewer at bats.

  • 18. Trip  |  September 19, 2007 at 9:17 am

    I agree that Delmon needs to work on that BB/K ratio. But is it not all that bad to have an aggressive batter in the middle of the order?

  • 19. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  September 19, 2007 at 10:00 am

    He still needs to tone it down a bit. He swings at like 75% of first pitches. It’s a joke. Even Vladimir Guerrero has learned to lay off of pitches.

  • 20. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  September 19, 2007 at 10:04 am

    Erik – That’s why I think Braun is the best offensive rookie. I think the actuall rookie of the year is the rookie who played the best all year. If one didn’t fit that category then someone like Braun wins hands down. Don’t get me wrong though, if Braun wins it he deserves it, I just think Tulo deserves it by a very slim margin.

  • 21. charlie  |  September 19, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    This is a hard one. Braun is obviously the superior hitter, but Tulo is the far superior defender, and as you said, it’s possible that he might win a gold glove this season.

    I think I’d have to lean towards Tulo now because of his clutch hitting too. He’s no Derek Jeter, but like what… 5 games in a row he had game winning homers?

    Tulo had a slow start at the plate, and Braun has come out of the gate swing.

    I don’t know… CO-ROY?

    AL. Pedroia. Easily.

  • 22. suzy  |  September 19, 2007 at 8:04 pm

    ok lets get to the Cubs rookies???

  • 23. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  September 19, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    Co-ROY would be awesome! I like your thinking Charlie!

    Sorry Suzy, no Cubs rookies worth mentioning as hitters with atleast 400 plate appearances.

  • 24. charlie  |  September 20, 2007 at 6:45 am

    I think really only Fontenot and Pie are the only hitters on the Cubs roster that will qualify as a rookie, and I’m sure they’re no where close to 400 ABs. The rest will be rookies again next season because they haven’t filled the requirements to make a full season. Fontenot started off real well, but fell into his natural groove. Pie is now a defensive replacement, as he can’t figure out hitting at the Major League level, but batted well over .350 in AAA this season.

    Sam Fuld for ROY! 8 pinch runs and 3 runs scored. No ABs. He’s unstoppable!

  • 25. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  September 20, 2007 at 7:32 am

    Pie has got a lot raw tools. He needs to have better pitch recognition, he can’t sit on fastballs in the Bigs. Fontenot has been a good surprise but he nothing more than a utility INF. Both will probably reach 130 at-bats and that qualifies them for rookies this year.

    Who is Sam Fuld? Those are awesome numbers you found on him! I love wierd stat lines like that.

  • 26. charlie  |  September 20, 2007 at 10:01 am

    He’s a dude they called up from AA in Sept to pinch run and defensive replacement late in games. He’s been in 8 games (last i saw), all for pinch running jobs, and a few times he stayed in as def. replacement as part of a double switch. No ABs though. 🙂

    There’s no doubt about that that Pie is going to be a be 5 tool player in the near future, but just needs to adjust to big league pitchers.

  • 27. Brittney  |  September 20, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    I think we both know the answer to that lol =]

  • 28. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  September 20, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    Haha! You Braves fans, I have to say that I love your loyalty!

  • 29. Brittney  |  September 20, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    Yeah,dude! haha I’ve been a Braves fan since..before I was born=] My mom told me when she was pregnant with me,I used to kick everytime the Braves scored a run haha

  • 30. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  September 20, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    I was actually a Braves fan before we got a home team. The Braves were the closest to home and I am a homer! I always root for the home team.

  • 31. Roman  |  September 23, 2007 at 9:32 pm

    No contest, Delmon Young. If he had a Red Sox jersey on there would be no contest what so ever. However, he is hindered by the fact that he is on a last place club.

    For a 21-22 year old, he is far above Pedroia. Pedroia has a far more complementing line up then the Rays. There for he is getting more pitches so on and so forth. Where Delmon, when you have hitters like Greg Norton and a inconsistent Johnny Gomes behind him… he will not see the same quality of pitches. When you weigh out the threat that he has been in right field… no contest.

    Once again, he Delmon was in a Red Sox uni rather then a Rays uni, there would be no discussion. Do you think you Pedroia would have such a argument if he were a Ray?

  • 32. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  September 24, 2007 at 6:14 am

    I agree that if Delmon Young was on the Sox or even the Yanks that he would win the award hands down. And vice versa. If Pedroia were on the Rays hw would have a hard time winning it. I still think that if I had a vote I would vote for Pedroia because his stats really are better and he’s done it while contending. It would be a close vote though, like Pedroia 1a. and Young 1b.


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