Carl Yastrzemski once said, “I remember I was a scared rookie, hitting .220 after the first three months of my baseball season, and doubting my ability.” Here are some guys who don’t have to doubt nothin’. But before we get to them, I want to get to something else. I want to get to the greatest rookie of them all. I want to get to Freddy Lynn. Rookie, rookie. Who gets the cookie. Who’s got the woh oh oh oh, woh oh oh oh, right stuff? Freddy Lynn had the right stuff. That marshmallow fluff. Sho’ nuff. The Rookie of the Year Award should now and forever more be called the Fred Lynn Award. The best rookie season evah. Evah! Sherman, set the way back machine to 1975. Fenway Pahk. Rookie Fred Lynn in center. Rookie Big Jim Ed Rice in left. The Gold Dust Twins. But Jim Ed got hurt, and Freddy turned out to be goldener. Stay gold, Freddy. Stay gold.
How gold? Glad you asked. Solid gold. Solid Gold dancers gold. Mmmmm, the Solid Gold Dancers. Sorry. Where was I? Oh ya. Freddy Lynn. Gold. Rookie of the Year gold. MVP gold. Gold Glove gold. First player ever to win both MVP and ROY in the same season gold. That’s how gold. This is how gold too:
- Freddy hit .331.
- Freddy hit twenty-one bombs.
- Freddy had 105 RBIs.
- He led the league in slugging percentage.
- He led the league in OPS.
- He led the league in doubles and runs scored.
- On one sunny afternoon in June, he smashed the Detroit Tigers. Smashed the Detroit Tigers to the tune of three HRs, ten RBIs and sixteen total bases. In one game! Yowza!
- In the post season, he hit .306.
- In the post season,he had one ding and eight RBIs.
In Game Six against the Big Red Machine, Freddy slammed a crucial three-run jack in the first inning. Freddy slammed a crucial three-run jack in the first inning that setup the critical Bernie Carbo jack that set up the famous Carlton Fisk jack that sits on a branch that sits on a log that sits in a hole in the bottom of the sea. There’s a hole, there’s a hole, there’s a hole in the bottom of the sea. Stewie Griffen style.
Now that’s what a rookie season looks like. Now that’s why the should rename the award. Write your congressman. Write Bud Selig. Tell ‘em Josh Q. Public sent ya. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Catcher – JP Arencibia
Make no mistakes, JP Arencibia is never going to hit for a high batting average. Never. Not in a box. Not with a fox. Not in a house. Not with a mouse. He will not do it here or there. He will not do it anywhere. What he will do is go yard. JP is a streak hitter and when he streaking, he just tears the cover off the ball. Earlier in the week he tore the cover off the ball to the tune of five bombs in six games. Five bombs in six games all from the nine hole. Just so you know, he’s the first major-league player to hit five bombs over six games from the last spot in the lineup since Dale Sveum did so for the 1987 Brewers. I know. Dale Sveum. But still. But still, Arencibia hit another one last night. But still, Arencibia now has 18 for the season. He’s an aggressive hitter who can knock the ball out to all fields in any ballpark. Knock knock. Who’s there? JP Arencibia, bitch! Honorable Mention: Wilson Ramos
First Base – Freddie Freeman
This was a tough one. This was a rough one. An HR Puffnstuf one. HR Pufnstuf, who’s your friend when things get rough? HR Pufnstuf, can’t do a little cause he can’t do enough. Eric Hosmer and Mark Trumbo can’t do enough either but I gotta go with Freddie Freeman here. Freeman was just named the NL Rookie of the Month. Freeman just came off a July in which he led all other major league rookies in batting average, hits, and on-base percentage. Freeeman is in the middle of an 18-game hitting streak, and he hit in 23 out of 27 games in July. Freeman here’s got a job. Freeman’s got prospects. He’s bona fide. What are you? I’ll tell you what else Freddie Freeman is. Freddie Freeman is well on his way to NL Rookie of the Year. Danny Espinosa who?
Second Base – Danny Espinosa
Speak of the devil. Heading into the All-Star break, Danny Espinosa was the front-runner for NL Rookie of the Year. Like my main Pony Boy always says, “That was then. This is now.” It might have been Pony Boy. Now that think of it, it prolly wasn’t Pony Boy. Whoever it was, it fits. Now, since the All-Star break, Espinosa is in the midst of a 11-72 skid. This is a situation he’ll have to rectify if he wants to keep pace with Freeman. He’ll have to do what he was doing before. He’ll have to produces runs again. He’ll have to hit bombs again. I think he can. Even if he doesn’t, he still plays superb defense. Even if he doesn’t, he still is the only rookie who can say he hasn’t missed one game. Even if he doesn’t, he still makes this team. Honorable Mention: Jemile Weeks
Third Base – Justin Turner
The competition here is thin. Very thin. Thinner than that and even thinner still. Cardinals third baseman Daniel Descalso is so bad that Tony La Russa had to play Albert Pujols at third base. Chicago White Sox third baseman Brent Morel is hitting .250 and has drawn just three walks in 240 at-bats. While Lonnie Chisenhall is undoubtedly going to be a star in the future, he’s far from that now. Same for Mike Moustakas. That leaves us with Justin Turner. Wait. I thought Justin Turner played second base. No. What is on second base. Huh? Let me explain. Turner got the call from Triple-A Buffalo and provided instant value by hitting for average and playing solid defense at second. So you were right, right? Yes and no. Turner then shifted to third base when David Wright went down in mid-May and has continued to serve as a traditional two-hole hitter with the ability to make contact and handle the bat. Got it? Good. Turner doesn’t have the upside of some of the aforementioned players. He appears to be a below average offensive second baseman with average defense and baserunning. That doesn’t sound like ringing endorsement. In fact in sounds a lot like my main man Stan Podalak: “Well, I may not be very tall, but… I’m slow.” Maybe so, but he’s all we got.
Shortstop – Elliot Johnson
Just like Jimmy Morris, it’s never too late to believe in your dreams. It’s not too late for Elliot Johnson. The 27 year-old Rays rookie toiled nine years in the minors and did not play more than 20 games at short until last season. Look at him now. This season the switch-hitting Johnson has served in a rough platoon with Reid Brignac earlier in the season and now with Sean Rodriguez. He has served admirably. Admirably Fletcher. Admirably Nimitz. Admirably Farragut. Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead! Elliot Johnson has gone full speed ahead. Full speed ahead while providing value on defense and on the bases. Sure he’s a utility guy. César Tovar was a utility guy. Tony Phillips was a utility guy. Cookie Rojas and Bert Campaneris were utility guys. How do you like them guys? Honorable Mention: Chase d’Arnaud
Outfield – Desmond Jennings
We caught a glimpse of this guy last year. Caught a glimpse of this guy in the thick of the pennant race. Caught a glimpse of this guy in the ALDS. In the thick of the pennant race and in the ALDS, this guy hit in eight different lineup slots, pinch-hit, pinch-ran and generally got his feet wet. His feet are soaking now. I know he only has 45 at-bats. I don’t care. Through 11 games since his call-up last month he’s batting .340. Through 11 games since his call-up last month he has six walks and five stolen bases. He’s gotten on base 23 times in nine games for a .436 on-base percentage and eight of his 16 hits have gone for extra bases, which is good for a .681 slugging percentage. I have seen the future of the MLB and its name is Desmond Jennings. Honorable Mention: Josh Reddick
Starting Pitcher – Dillon Gee
What? You thought I was going to say Michael Pineda? You thought you said I’m alright Spider. You thought wrong. Dillon Gee got off to 7-0 in his first nine starts for the Mets this season. That 7-0 start established a team record for rookies and made him a mainstay in a starting rotation. he hasn’t slowed down since. Gee, has almost single-handedly kept the Mets on the brink of playoff contention by going a team-best 10-3 with a 3.69 ERA in 20 outings. Despite lacking the fire-balling prowess of the aforementioned Pineda, Gee has a penchant for winning. My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. But that’s him. This is about Dillon Gee. This is about the best rookie starting pitcher in baseball. Honorable Mention: Michael Pineda
Closer – Craig Kimbrel
No Gomer Pyle here. No surprise, surprise, surprise here. Craig Kimbrel is the leader of the Braves bullpen. He is a 23-year-old flamethrower who has saved 32 games and struck out 86 batters in 54 innings. How about that? How about this: Kimbrel’s 14.3 strikeouts per nine innings pitched is the eighth highest ever by a reliever with 50 or more innings pitched. Yowza! Honorable Mention: Jordan Walden
Peace out homies. Six two and even!
Need More? Atlanta Braves,Boston Red Sox,Craig Kimbrel,Danny Espinosa,Desmond Jennings,Dillon Gee,Elliot Johnson,Fred Lynn,Freddie Freeman,JP Arencibia,Justin Turner,MLB,New York Mets,Seattle Mariners,Tampa Bay Rays,Toronto Blue Jays,Washington Nationals