Monday, August 25, 2014

Top Rookies of 2013: Where Are They Now?

The Rookie of the Year Award has always been a blessing and a curse. While numerous recipients have moved on to productive careers after finishing at the top of their class, others have wilted under the pressure. The top ten freshmen of 2013 have met with mixed results this year.

American League
J.B. Shuck/ Angels OF
Originally an Astros prospect, Shuck had a call-up in 2011 with Houston. He performed well in limited duty. A free agent after 2012, he signed with the Angels. Shuck was 26 years-old during his official rookie season. He finished fifth in ROY voting, hitting .293 with 25 extra-base hits in 129 games. His follow-up season has been extremely disappointing so far. Through August 1, he was hitting just .167 and had logged extensive time in the minors with the Salt Lake Bees of the Pacific Coast League.  

Dan Straily/ Athletics P
Selected by the A's in a late round of the 2009 draft, Straily debuted in 2012. His rookie campaign was a success as he compiled a 10-8 record with a 3.96 ERA, placing fourth for ROY honors. In 2014, he posted a 1-2 record with a 4.93 ERA in his first seven starts. He was traded to the Cubs with two minor leaguers and a player to be named later. Making his first start for Chicago on August 16, he allowed 5 earned runs and 7 hits in 5-plus innings.

Chris Archer/ Rays P
Drafted by the Indians in the 2006, Archer was also property of the Cubs before signing with the Tampa Bay Rays. He made his major league debut in June of 2012. The following year (his first official rookie season), he logged a 9-7 record and a 3.22 ERA while striking out 101 opponents in 128.1 innings of work. He attained a rank of #3 in ROY voting. As of August 23 of this year, he had put up numbers similar to his rookie effort with a 8-6 record and 3.17 ERA in 25 starts. Archer's best pitch is his slider, which Baseball America has ranked as being among the top three in the Rays organization.

Jose Iglesias/ Tigers SS/3B
A Cuban export, Iglesias made brief appearances in 2011/'12, but didn't meet rookie qualifications until 2013. He started the season with the Red Sox and hit at a torrid .330 clip in 63 games. Traded to Detroit, he slumped a bit at the plate, but finished the season at .303. He placed second in balloting for ROY. An excellent defensive infielder, he sustained stress fractures in his shins during the spring of 2014. He has yet to appear in a game this year.

Wil Myers/ Rays OF
The American League's reigning Rookie of the Year was chosen in the 2009 amateur draft. A catcher in high school, he was converted to an outfielder in the minors--probably because he allowed a lot of passed balls and was mediocre in thwarting stolen base attempts. In his rookie season of 2013, he hit .293 with 13 homers and 53 RBI in 88 games, helping the Rays find their way to the postseason. A stress fracture in his right wrist landed him on the 60-day disabled list in 2014. As of August 23, he was hitting just .222.

National League
Julian Teheran/ Braves P
A product of Colombia, Teheran signed as an amateur free agent in 2007. He tossed a no-hitter in the minors and earned call-ups in 2011/'12 while still a teenager. In his rookie season, he posted a 14-8 record and averaged 8 strikeouts per 9 innings. This year, Teheran is in the midst of a convincing follow-up campaign. He was selected for the All-Star team though he didn't play. Through August 23, he had made league-leading 27 starts and won 12 games while sporting a handsome 2.96 ERA.

Hyun-jin Ryu/ Dodgers P
In 2006, Ryu captured Rookie of the Year and MVP honors in the Korea Baseball Organization--the first player to win both awards in the same season. Two years later, he helped the South Korean team to a Gold Medal at the Olympics. His major league debut was highly successful as he accrued a 14-8 record for the Dodgers with an ERA of 3.00. He was MLB's #4 pick for ROY. This year, it's been much of the same so far. Through mid-August, Ryu had posted a 13-6 record with an ERA of 3.28.

Shelby Miller/ Cardinals P
A first round pick in the '09 amateur draft, Miller turned pro right out of high school. He averaged 11 strikeouts per 9 frames in four minor league seasons before earning a September call-up in 2012. In his rookie year, he went 15-9 and accumulated 169 strikeouts, guiding the Cardinals to the postseason. Miller, who relies on his fastball, has fallen on hard times as of late. After a pair of rough outings on August 11 and 16, his record stood at 8-9. His ERA was somewhat inflated at 4.25.

Yasiel Puig/ Dodgers OF
A major star in Cuba, Puig defected in May of 2012 and took up residence in Mexico. He accepted an offer from the Dodgers for seven years at $42 million. He didn't disappoint in his rookie season, hitting .319 with 19 homers and 42 RBIs in 104 games. A high energy player, he has shown an alarming lack of discipline at times. During his brief stay in the majors, he has been arrested twice for reckless driving. In April of 2014, he was scratched from the lineup for showing up late to the ballpark. He has continued to be productive at the plate despite these issues. As of August 21, he was hitting .312 with 13 homers and 59 RBIs.   

Jose Fernandez/ Marlins P
A first round pick in 2011, Fernandez burst upon the scene at the age of 20. In his rookie season, he was 12-6 with a dazzling 2.19 ERA in 28 starts. He averaged just 5.8 hits per 9 innings--the lowest ratio in the majors. He finished third in Cy Young voting and was a lock for NL Rookie of the Year honors. Off to a 4-2 start in 2014, he was placed on the DL in May with an elbow sprain. At this point, Tommy John surgery is a likely option. What the procedure will do to his 98 mph fastball remains to be seen.         


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