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2015 Fantasy Baseball: AL ROY Preview

The American League Rookie of the Year award race is not nearly as cut and dried as the National League race. Of course, as we saw in that article, the race should be a lot closer than what it will be. The American League race might seem cut and dried at this point, but there are several players that deserve some mention. The race will likely come down to a pair of shortstops that littered the prospect lists coming into the season and they’ve certainly lived up the advanced billing. Still, there are a couple more candidates that deserve mention.

Billy Burns— Oakland Athletics

Key Numbers: .297, 4 HR, 66 Runs, 36 RBI, 26 SB

There is a tendency to discount players like Burns, but he has been a godsend for the Athletics this season. Coco Crisp went down early and never got into a rhythm this season. Burns seized on the opportunity and never looked back. His .725 OPS won’t blow anyone’s skirt up, but he deserves the mention here. He has held down a difficult defensive position and been a decent top of the order bat.

What does he need to do to win?

Honestly, he can’t. However, if he were to wind up hitting better than .300 and if he could get to 30 stolen bases on the season he could wind up getting some third place votes. The problem is that he is coming from so far behind that there is nothing that can happen in two weeks outside of hitting about .800 that could get him anywhere but fourth place.

Where should he finish?

Fourth is a good spot for him. He hasn’t done anything spectacular, but he is one of the reasons why Oakland has avoided becoming a dumpster fire this season. He won’t ever carry a team on his own, but he can be a complimentary piece on a good team.

Carlos Correa— Houston Astros

Key Stats: .273, 18 HR, 44 Runs, 53 RBI, 12 SB

Carlos Correa is the odds on favorite for the rookie of the year even though he is second in WAR among the rookies in the American League. He is a good defender, but Francisco Lindor is a better one. That marks the difference between the two. Correa has two things going for him that will likely get him the award. First, he does everything well. He hits for power, he has patience, and he steals some bases. He is good with the glove but not great. More importantly though, his Astros are in the middle of a playoff run, so he is likely going to get more exposure.

What does he need to do to win?

Honestly, two more home runs would do him a world of good, but he really just needs to maintain his numbers. If the Astros make it in as the wild card or even win the division then he will likely do enough to get the award. The ROY normally has not been tied to team success or failure, but when things are close that is always a consideration and this race should be close.

Where should he finish?

Honestly, I would vote him second at this point. That is probably sacrilegious coming from an Astros fan, but Francisco Lindor has just been an edge better. It will be interesting to follow those two players over the years to see where they end up, but Lindor has been better. Most scouts agree Correa will likely enjoy the better career, but the award shouldn’t be about future potential. It’s about the here and now.

Francisco Lindor— Cleveland Indians

Key Stats: .316, 10 HR, 43 Runs, 44 RBI, 8 SB

Can’t I see that Carlos Correa has more runs, RBI, SB, and home runs than Lindor? Sure, but there is more to baseball than offense. Lindor has 1.3 dWAR which is almost a full win more than Correa. This is the reason why he leads all AL rookies in WAR. Lindor is also hot. He was hitting under .200 after his first few weeks in the big leagues, but he’s found himself lately. That always helps.

What does he need to do to win?

I think most people have made up their minds, but if he continues his hot hitting there will be enough support out there to make it close. He will need Correa to slump over the last two weeks to really have a shot at it. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough of the BBWAA that pay attention to fielding.

Where should he finish?

He should be the AL Rookie of the Year. It really is remarkable for a player to get to four wins above replacement in the amount of time he had. Both Billy Burns and Carlos Correa got more time this season than he did, but he has surpassed them in value. He likely will finish second because Correa has the more gaudy offensive numbers.

Miguel Sano— Minnesota Twins

Key Numbers: .280, 17 HR, 40 Runs, 49 RBI, 1 SB

Sano has been the best offensive rookie since getting called up, but he is a glorified designated hitter and he didn’t get called up until after the all-star break. If he had played a position (with some level of proficiency) or if he had been called up at the same time as even Correa then he’d likely be the rookie of the year. Every year, there has been someone like him that would garner the votes if they had enough time in the big leagues. This year, it is Sano.

What does he need to do to win?

Like Correa, the Twins are in the midst of the playoff chase. They have spent most of the season coming from behind and you could argue that his presence is one of the reasons why they have a fighting chance. If he gets really hot and helps them get to the wild card game, that might be enough to do it. Getting to 20 home runs would also help a ton. You would imagine if he is able to do that then the winning part might be possible.

Where should he finish?

I would personally vote Sano third. I like what he has done with the bat, but he hasn’t done for long enough and he is more or less a one way player (he has -0.6 dWAR). However, there is no denying that he has become a fantasy factor overnight and he has helped the Twins stay in contention for the second wild card.


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