In June, the candidates for rookie of the year in the National League numbered more than what they do today. Jason Heyward was an immediate sensation upon hitting a homerun in his first Major League at-bat and was tearing up the league for the Atlanta Braves. Other players such as David Freese and Starlin Castro were also proving to be pleasant rookie surprises, and Castro of the Chicago Cubs, even lead the NL in batting average for a brief time. Phenom pitcher Stephen Strasburg was also ready to win the Cy Young Award and Rookie of the Year without even throwing a pitch.
With all those players, the name Buster Posey was not even a thought, as he had just been called up at the end of May.
But now, three months later, the list of who could possibly win the award is much different. Strasburg made his debut and injured himself, missing the rest of this season and possibly next year as well. David Freese was also injured and is done for the year. Castro, meanwhile, has cooled off but is still hitting at a lofty .317.
Jason Heyward is still putting together a solid campaign, as he has 16 homeruns and 65 RBI’s while batting .281.
There is a name that deserves consideration, though, and that is Giants’ catcher Buster Posey, who was called up in late May, and has been a stalwart ever since. Posey began this season hitting in 13 out of his first 14 games. He only hit one homerun in June, but then clobbered seven in July. In that same month, he also fell one game short of the franchise record for a hit streak, when he hit in 21 consecutive games, just shy of the record set by Willie Mays.
His line of stats on the year is currently 11 homeruns and 55 RBI’s along with a bloated .328 batting average. In 33 fewer games than Heyward, he has only five less homeruns, 10 less RBI’s and is batting 20 points higher. He also only has 18 less hits. Posey even has a higher slugging percentage than Heyward.
Posey has done all of this while playing a physically demanding position as catcher, and even learning to play first base. He has shown great versatility in that respect, playing 30 games at first and 52 at catcher.
Though he is my favorite to win the NL Rookie of the Year, Jaime Garcia, a pitcher on the St. Louis Cardinals, also deserves a mention. He is 13-6 with a 2.35 ERA and has made a quality start in 18 out of 26 games. He has never given up more than five runs in a game, and has done that only once.
There are a lot of great candidates for the award this year, a list that has shrunken due to injuries and reality in the last few months. At this current time, I would give the nod to Posey with Heyward at a close second. Garcia would be in third place and Castro would be in fourth.