NL Rookie of the Year Power Rankings: Week 2

Jason Arnold

The Miami Marlins have one prominent candidate in the National League Rookie of the Year race, but did Jose Fernandez do enough to stay on top in our latest power rankings?

With another strong start by Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez, he continues to establish himself at the top of the Fish Stripes National League Rookie of the Year Power Rankings. But how was Fernandez's performance versus that of the other players? Let's take a look here in the second week of our series.

1. Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins, SP (Last Week: 1)
IP K% BB% ERA FIP FWAR
152 2/3 27.2 8.4 2.30 2.65 3.8

While Yasiel Puig could very well end up winning this award, I think a majority (though not a vast majority) of writers would vote for Jose Fernandez if the award were handed out today. That is what the Power Rankings are measuring: the current standing of the rookies today. Fernandez leads all National League rookies in every category, from strikeouts, ERA, and FIP for pitchers to Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in multiple formulations when compared against Puig.

Of course, voters will not looking at a vast majority of numbers when they decide the winner, but it does not take advanced statistics to point out Fernandez's supremacy. His ERA alone makes him a better choice right now than all the other rookie starters, and he has strikeouts akin to Shelby Miller's rates. While Puig has cooled down slightly, Fernandez has only heated up at the end of the season.

And if you want to talk about narratives, there is no more obvious narrative than how Fernandez dominated Puig and the Dodgers in his start before his last one. This Carson Cistulli NotGraphs piece summarizes it perfectly.

Along the way, he tacked on another seven innings of shutout baseball with eight strikeouts and no walks. He may lose the award, but it won't be because of anything but the lost playing time that is on his way.

2. Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers, OF (Last Week: 2)
PA AVG OBP SLG WOBA FWAR
311 .340 .402 .547 .405 3.0

I am of the belief that another strong September from Puig will probably win him the award. He has been great all season, and his rise coinciding with the Dodgers' hot streak is a superb narrative. But right now, I do no believe voters would select him over Fernandez overall.

For starters, his most recent stretch included an 0-for-3 struggle against Fernandez himself, followed by an example of his supposedly "bad behavior," as he flipped out in the dugout directly after a strikeout. He also hit just .211/.273/.421 with one home run in the last week, meaning he may also beginning his slow descent into his normal rate after that hot first month. His batting line is down to .289/.384/.470 this month (.359 wOBA), which is a little worse than how Giancarlo Stanton is currently hitting.

This may all be forgotten with a fantastic final month that leads to a victorious fall for the Dodgers, but right now, Puig may be lagging a bit behind in this two-horse race.

3. Shelby Miller, St. Louis Cardinals, SP (Last Week: 5)
IP K% BB% ERA FIP FWAR
139 2/3 26.4 7.2 2.90 3.32 2.3

Miller's status or performance have not really changed, but the fact that he continues to have elite strikeout numbers and similar overall performance metrics (ERA, FIP) should put him slightly ahead of his competition, Hyun-Jin Ryu. Miller's game is simply sexier, especially in the strikeout department. He is second only to Fernandez in strikeout rate among rookie starters at 26.4 percent, and he is besting Fernandez in allowing fewer walks. The similarity and comparisons to Fernandez may garner Miller some points over the steady but unexciting Ryu.

4. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers, SP (Last Week: 3)
IP K% BB% ERA FIP FWAR
160 2/3 20.2 6.9 3.08 3.29 2.5

Ryu did not gain any headway in his last start, as he allowed four runs in five innings (though with seven strikeouts) against the Boston Red Sox. Ryu does lead all NL rookie starters in pitcher wins with 14, and he is still riding the hot streak of the Los Angeles Dodgers, but in the face of such similar or better talent at the same position, being the guy who gets ground balls and suppresses homers is not the role you want to play to try and win an award.

5. Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves, SP (Last Week: 4)
IP K% BB% ERA FIP FWAR
155 21.5 6.0 3.08 3.82 1.8

You got to feel for Teheran, who in any other season would have been a front-runner in this race but who happened to be a player whose rookie year landed with two phenoms and a myriad of other solid players. His numbers, particularly in the strikeouts department, are OK but do not stand out like Fernandez's or Miller's. He is sitting on 10 pitcher wins, which is exactly where Fernandez is at with his inferior team. Teheran has simply quietly gone about his business, and the lack of fanfare for his appearances may be the reason why he will not receive as much support as the candidates above.

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