Sunday, March 26, 2023

2023 in Former Rookies of the Year

It's odd to look back at the Rookie of the Year winners from the 2000s and see how much of a crapshoot this thing used to be. I mean, I'm sure there'll be different assessments in about 10 more years, but just seeing how many ROY winners flamed out after 5 years or less, like Angel Berroa, Jason Jennings, Andrew Bailey, Chris Coghlan, Bobby Crosby and, let's be honest with ourselves, Jason Bay. 

You look at the ones from the 2010s and it's mostly predicted the stars of today- all of Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Jacob deGrom, Corey Seager, Shohei Ohtani, Kris Bryant, Carlos Correa, Aaron Judge and Yordan Alvarez remain the biggest stars in the game. By 2013, 15 of the 20 ROY winners of the previous decade were still in the league, and six of those guys were still among the biggest stars of the game [Ichiro, Pujols, Pedroia, Verlander, Hanley Ramirez and Evan Longoria]. The rest were scrubs.

By comparison, 16 of the 20 from the 2010s are still in the league, and 13 of those guys are still considered huge stars, and are being used in big roles going into camp this year. If Buster Posey hadn't retired, he'd be a figure in this as well. 

Just for fun, I'll go down the list of the active Rookie of the Year winners, and see how they're doing going into the start of the season in a week.

Justin Verlander, 2006: Heh, funny how it drops a bit when Pujols finally retires. Verlander, even for a 40-year-old, is looking at another huge season, in a top role in the Mets' rotation to begin the year. Verlander and Scherzer are gonna be an epic duo that, despite their ages, look to strike the hell out of opposing offenses for as long as they can. No current sign of slipping, though his age and durability are both worries.

Evan Longoria, 2008. Longoria has been in the league for 15 years now and is only now donning his third uniform, fittingly the team that came into the league at the same time as his beloved Rays. The Diamondbacks are planning to use Longo as a starting third baseman and potential DH option. Longo has missed parts of the last few seasons with the Giants, though, to his credit, he's been excellent whenever he's been active. I don't think his star is as high as it was when he came to San Francisco, but he's still had a hell of a career, and the D-Backs might get a bit of pep from his counsel. 

Craig Kimbrel, 2011. Kimbrel's Rod Beck comparisons are back. He's become a journeyman type closer, showing up somewhere and getting 30 or so saves while not being as lights-out as he used to be. This year he's in Philly, and he's not guaranteed the ninth due to Gregory Soto being an even better closing option. He might need to be the setup man, and judging by late 2021, he's not the best at doing that either. 

Bryce Harper, 2012. Hurt, likely to come back by June or July, but still beloved and still regarded as one of the best in the league. 

Mike Trout, 2012. Despite recent injuries and a few Griffey comparisons, still undeniably one of baseball's biggest stars, and priming himself for another huge season in LA after a great WBC run.

Wil Myers, 2013. I think that, while Myers' ability to be one of the biggest stars in the game extinguished in about 2016, he's been a solid enough hitter ever since. He's passed his peak, and the Reds knew that when they picked him up, but he's probably gonna make the team and he'll aid them as an inoffensive power bat. 

Jacob deGrom, 2014. A change of teams, and a slight increase of ERA, are his biggest obstacles going into 2023, but he's still considered one of the best pitchers in the game, has won multiple Cy Young awards, and looks to make the Rangers a contender again.

Jose Abreu, 2014. I've talked up Abreu as an underrated HOF contender, solely because of how consistent his offensive production has been ever since coming into the league. I fear now that he's just passing his peak years, and though the Astros have given him a nice paycheck, I don't know if he'll deliver for them as well as he did for Chicago.

Kris Bryant, 2015. Still one of the biggest names in the game despite missing most of last season. Pretty much everyone is convinced he's due for a comeback with the Rockies, I am hoping they are right.

Carlos Correa, 2015. Though no one is quite certain what medical issue ended up ruining his deals with the Giants and Mets, he's at least back in an organization he knows, he's coming off a strong season, and he's looking to stay relevant despite the Twins not being as sure of a bet as, well, the Mets. I think he's still one of the stars of the game, but he's in danger of blowing it.

Corey Seager, 2016. Yeah, last season made it clear that Corey Seager is still a five-tool player even if he's no longer a member of the Dodgers. With a fuller Rangers roster he looks to make even more of a statement and add to his trophy case even more.

Michael Fulmer, 2016. Yes, clearly Fulmer didn't pan out the way the Tigers wanted, which is a rarity considering who surrounds him on this post, but he's reinvented himself as a reliever. In all of his spring appearances with the Cubs he's gone scoreless, so they're at least excited about that. I don't think he's ever gonna be as big of a deal as he was in 2016 and 2017, though.

Aaron Judge, 2017. Well, of course he's doing well, and he's a hell of a lot richer, too. 

Cody Bellinger, 2017. The last two seasons have put him on the border of stardom and obscurity, and it really hinges on whether he can do anything for the Cubs this year. I think he's honestly cooked himself, and might have peaked in 2019, much like his MVP rival Christian Yelich.

Shohei Ohtani, 2018. Duh.

Ronald Acuna Jr., 2018. Still one of the big stars of the game, yes, but he's missed a bit too much time due to injuries, and he needs this season to prove his staying power, and that he can still perform with the big boys even in a more crowded Braves lineup. 

Yordan Alvarez, 2019. I'd say he's still a big star, though maybe not as big as some other people in this post. If he's able to keep his home run numbers up and stay healthy, his star will rise. If not, he'll be another symbol of the Astros' championship runs.

Pete Alonso, 2019. Yeah, I'm pretty confident that he's still a marquee guy even if he's not quite hitting as many as he did in 2019. Alonso is still one of the biggest stars on the Mets, and will be relied upon a great deal as the stakes get even higher for them.

Kyle Lewis, 2020. The injuries have really lessened Lewis' appeal, which is why he's starting this season as a backup outfielder for the Diamondbacks. I don't wanna believe he's washed himself up this quickly, but I'm very worried that if the 2020 season had been full, he wouldn't have won the award. 

Devin Williams, 2020. As mad as I was that Williams won this award for a month of service, he's become a very strong reliever and closer, and one of the most reliable members of the Brewers. Maybe not a huge star, but it could turn out that way if he stays this excellent.

Randy Arozarena, 2021. His 2020 and 2021 were great. His 2022 was a lot more human. Is it a sophomore slump, or indicative of future trends. With the Rays expected to underperform this year, many eyes will be on Arozarena to see if he really is for real, or if Wander Franco should have gotten that ROY instead.

Jonathan India, 2021. After getting injured very early in the season, India turned in a merely passable sophomore year in a depleted Cincinnati infield. The pressure may be on him a lot more with even less stars in the Reds' lineup, and I worry he may not exceed expectations.

Julio Rodriguez, 2022. Looking extremely good.

Michael Harris II, 2022. As excellent as Harris was in 2022, and as confident as the Braves are in his abilities, I am not sold yet on Harris' long term appeal, and will need a similar year to last year to really convince me that he's for real. With, again, A LOT OF BRAVES looking to impress this year, Harris will either stand out immediately or get lost in the shuffle. 

And that's where we're at. A lot of these guys still look really good in 2023, and, funnily enough, some of the early 2020s ones have already not aged very well. 

No comments:

Post a Comment