While Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu has all but locked up the American League Rookie of the Year, a fierce battle has broken out in the National League between the Cincinnati Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton and New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom.
The Reds are deep in the playoff hunt for the National League Central division and the second wild-card spot, but the Mets are just about out of the playoff race. This may sway some of the writers who vote for these awards towards Hamilton.
The case for Hamilton
Hamilton this year is hitting .270 with a .300 on base percentage, has stolen 45 bases, in addition to scoring 60 runs. Hamilton has also exhibited a surprising amount of power for a slap hitter, tallying six home runs and driving in 43 runs. Hamilton is well known for his glove and was one of the most highly touted prospects in baseball, ranking #11 according to MLB.com prior to the start of the 2013 season. Hamilton made big waves by stealing over 150 bases during the 2012 season with both high A and AA teams. So far Hamilton is living up to the hype that has surrounded him.
Throughout his minor league career Mets starter Jacob deGrom pitched in the shadows, always playing second fiddle to Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, or Rafael Montero. Both Montero and deGrom made their debuts against the New York Yankees in mid-May. It has been deGrom who has shined this season.
While Montero has struggled this season in the majors, deGrom has put up stellar numbers for a rebuilding team. deGrom has pitched to a 2.87 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. Up until his last start against the Washington Nationals on August 7th, deGrom had won his last five. After starting this season 0-4, deGrom has flipped a switch and quickly improved to 6-5. During that streak, the right-hander pitched at least seven innings in four of his five starts, posting a 1.04 ERA and a .89 WHIP in that span, earning him the Rookie of the Month title for July. deGrom was dead even in some categories with Los Angeles Dodgers ace and 2013 NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw in the month of July. Kershaw went 4-0 in July, posting a 1.07 ERA and a .64 WHIP. deGrom’s streak was capped off by a spectacular outing where he took a no-hitter into the seventh against the San Francisco Giants.
Don't count out deGrom
Only a recent bout of shoulder tendinitis has slowed deGrom. On August 12th the Mets placed deGrom on the 15 day disabled list. He is expected to return to the rotation after the 15 days are up. If deGrom regains his health and continues the torrid pace he was on before his injury, it will be a tight and exciting race to the finish for Rookie of the Year honors.
Hamilton is the bigger name, but judging exclusively by the numbers, it seems as though it is deGrom’s award to lose.