During the past seven seasons the American League Rookie of the Year award has been won by the likes of Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels, Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox, Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays, and Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers. The 2013 AL rookie class was not a strong one. The winner had few legitimate challengers, although he certainly deserves the distinction.
The Winner: Wil Myers, OF — Rays
The Good: Just 22, Myers hit for average and power and got on base at a decent clip. He also hit both right- and left-handed pitchers equally well. Although he appeared in just 88 games, the young player finished tied for seventh in the AL in fWAR (2.4) — and was 0.3 WAR out of fourth place — among right fielders with at least 300 at-bats.
The Bad: A former catcher, Myers is still learning the nuances of playing the outfield and isn’t much of a threat on the base paths, either, so his value is tied solely to his bat right now. He struck out almost 25 pecent of the time, and will probably have to trim that number to continue to hit for average on a regular basis, but it’s a reasonable trade-off for the power he can provide.
The Future: With each passing year, the Royals’ decision to trade Myers (and at least six years of control) for pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis should get worse and worse. The freshman hitter should settle into the middle of the Rays’ starting lineup for years to come as the club’s key run producer.
The Next Three
2. Jose Iglesias, SS — Red Sox/Tigers:
Iglesias provided more offence in 2013 than anyone expected with a batting average of more than .300 but he was about league average when the season ended. The slick-fielding shortstop held his composure while anchoring the infield defense for two playoff-bound clubs while also filling in at the hot corner in Boston.
3. Chris Archer, RHP — Rays: Archer edged two other American League starting pitchers — Dan Straily of Oakland and Martin Perez of Texas — for the best rookie hurler in the AL. He had the best all-around numbers of the three and both his fastball and slider can be deadly weapons when they’re clicking. If he can find a weapon against left-handed hitters — such as an improved changeup — then he could become a true beast.
4. Danny Farquhar, RHP — Mariners: Farquhar led the AL in strikeout rate among rookie relievers (both starters and relievers, actually) with at least 50 innings pitched. He also had the edge in both FIP and xFIP despite a modest ERA. He was the only first-year reliever in the AL that was entrusted with regular save situations.