IBWAA NL Rookie of the Year Ballot
Across the National League, there have been a number of standout performances. Consider for a moment that this ballot omits pitchers like Kenta Maeda, Steven Matz, and Junior Guerra. It also doesn’t include the terrific shortstops Trevor Story and Aledmys Diaz. In any other season, each of these players could not only be on the ballot, but they also could win the award. In what was a loaded field, here is my NL Rookie of the Year ballot:
1st – Corey Seager
Short of Jackie Robinson and Mike Piazza, Seager has put together the best rookie season by a Dodgers player. That’s high praise especially when you consider the Dodgers organization has accumulated more Rookie of the Year Awards than any other team in baseball.
Seager was incredible this year leading all rookies in WAR, doubles, and RBI. He was also second in home runs. He was the only rookie in the National League who played enough games to qualify for the batting title. He’s also played a great shortstop with a 10.9 UZR. Overall, there is no knocking his overall game, nor is there any reason to not give him the Rookie of the Year Award
2nd – Trea Turner
It’s one thing to be a well regarded prospect. It’s another thing to come up and show the world why you were a well regarded prospect. It’s a whole other thing to do that while playing out of position.
Given Ben Revere‘s failures in center field, the Nationals had two options to fill-in the position. One was Michael Taylor, who is a well regarded prospect in his own right despite his weak bat, or move your best prospect to center field. The Nationals chose the later, and they really benefited from it.
In 73 games, Turner hit .342/.370/.567 with 14 doubles, eight triples, 13 homers, and 37 RBI. With that, he had a 3.6 WAR, which was the second highest position player WAR accumulated in the non-Seager division. In center field, Turner had a -2 DRS, which means he was slightly below average, which is really remarkable when you consider he had never played an inning in center field before the 2016 season. All of this is even more impressive when you consider Turner did this to help a team win their division.
Given the totality of the circumstances, Turner’s 2016 season might have been the most impressive by any rookie. If not for Seager, it was the best season any rookie had this year.
3rd – Seung-Hwan Oh
Where would the St. Louis Cardinals be this season had they not signed The Final Boss out of the Korean Leagues? For most of the year, the Cardinals team and bullpen has dealt with injuries. Most notably, Trevor Rosenthal went from ineffective to injured in the span of the year. With those issues, the Cardinals needed someone to step up. That person was Oh.
In 74 appearances, Oh showed all of baseball how he earned the nickname The Final Boss. He made 76 appearances going 6-3 with 19 saves, a 1.92 ERA, 0.916 WHIP, 11.6 K/9, 214 ERA+, and a 2.13 FIP. He took over the closer’s job in the beginning of July, and he was converted 19 out of 22 save chances with a 2.27 ERA, 0.958 WHIP, and an 11.3 K/9. Not only was Oh one of the top rookies in baseball this year, he was also one of the best relievers in the game. With that in mind, The Final Boss deserves to be on the Rookie of the Year ballot.