Print and Go Back ESPN.com: SweetSpot [Print without images]

Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Rating NL's top rookies


Hey, here's a name I hadn't considered in a while. From Rosenthal: Actually, I think there are numerous (viable) MVP candidates in both leagues, too. Just as many MVP candidates as Rookie of the Year candidates, really. But we've discussed them plenty already. You know how I feel about Joe Mauer, and you know I think that Chase Utley and Hanley Ramirez have been just as good as Albert Pujols. But you probably don't know how I feel about the rookies, because until this moment I didn't know how I felt.

For example, I had no idea how well Coghlan's been playing. Last time I checked -- back in June, probably -- he was just sort of sputtering along with no talk of any award, and now he's the best Rookie of the Year candidate in the league, with a .310/.382/.448 line that's easily the best among the three qualifying rookies (Fowler and Colby Rasmus being the others). That said, McCutchen's right behind Coghlan, OPS- and PA-wise, and he's got more doubles, more triples, and more home runs. Oh, and he's also far more valuable with the glove.

So among the hitters, McCutchen's actually the guy.

Can any of the pitchers bust up the party? I doubt it. In the presence of solid candidates like McCutchen and Coghlan, it would probably take 14 or 15 wins for a starter to draw real support, and Happ and Randy Wells are both sitting on just 10 wins now. And no National League rookie reliever has more than three saves.

At the moment, then, it's McCutchen's to lose. Which is yet another reason to like the Pirates' future.

(Later today: American League rookies.)