It is officially May. The 2019 season is in full swing, and the Red Sox are finally starting to get back on track. This is the point in the season where statistics start to be reflective. Most players have played in enough games at this point that their stats are fairly depicting of the player they are. Michael Chavis, is showing us who he is.
As award races around the league begin to heat up, we take a look at one that seems as wide open as any: The American League Rookie of the Year. Everyone and their uncle had Vlad Jr. as the landslide favorite coming into this season, but now things are changing.
Guerrero Jr. has struggled to get the bat going through his first couple weeks in the majors. He no longer looks like the runaway candidate we all once thought he was. This isn’t to say Vlad is going to be bad. Or to say that he can’t win the award, because he certainly can. However, with his struggle to start the year, and the torrid pace of Michael Chavis, we absolutely have a race on our hands.
So without further ado, we’ll take a look at the strongest candidates for this award, and how our prized prospect sizes up against them.
Jimenez, like Vlad Jr., may not be off to the scorching hot start that most expected, but the season is still incredibly young. Although Eloy has looked lost at times, there has been flashes of greatness.
He is on the IL at the moment, which will definitely set him back, if the other candidates continue to get consistent playing time. Jimenez has the ability to rattle off a bunch of home runs in a quick span. So if he’s able to hit 30 bombs with an OPS in the .800s, he’ll have thrown his name into the hat for the AL ROY.
Relative to some of the other guys mentioned here, Lowe is fairly unknown. To the diehard baseball world, this kid has the tools to become a star. Not just an all-star, but a star. Heading into Tuesday, he leads all American League rookies with seven home runs and 20 RBIs. He provides value at multiple positions (he already has reps at first, second and in right field). And he has an OPS of .935, while leading all AL rookies in plate appearances.
Lowe might not be the name you know, but he is going to make sure you learn it soon, and that you won’t forget it. If he continues the pace he’s on, he is certainly on the path to being named Rookie of the Year.
The lone pitcher on this list, Turnbull is off to an incredible start that has come almost out of nowhere. He had a career ERA over six entering 2019, and even at the minor league level last year, he was simply average. However, his peripheral stats begged to differ. While his ERA last year was over six, his FIP was under three, which is insanely good. It shows he was set up for future success even though he wasn’t seeing it at the time.
Turnbull was incredibly overlooked coming into this season. Some projections had him in the bullpen, or not even making the team. Spencer’s K/BB ratio of almost three is solid and sustainable. He has an ERA of 2.31, and his K/9 is right around average for a good major league starter. And my goodness, take a look at the video above and his NASTY breaking ball.
Ah yes, here we are. The man, the myth, the legend: Vlad Jr. Like we discussed earlier, his start in the majors hasn’t been anything like he had imagined. He’s struggled to a .152 average over his first 33 plate appearances, and hasn’t had an extra base hit since the clutch 9th inning double in his debut.
He is going to be fine. You know that, I know that, he knows it, hell, his Dad even knows it. But this slow start certainly gives every other player in the Rookie of the Year race a fighting chance. What once looked like it would be a runaway for Vlad, is now going to be a 5-6 horse race heading into September.
Obviously, Guerrero Jr. is going to figure it out, and the big hits and the bombs will follow. However for now, the other rookies in the American League need to capitalize on the wide open race.
Our guy, Michael Chavis is leading the league in homers since his call-up. He leads all qualified AL rookies with an OPS over 1.100. Chavis also sits top 10 in OBP and WRC+ in all of baseball, of players with at least 50 at-bats. This is absolutely incredible to have a player on your team putting up these numbers. If it were Mookie or J.D. it would be awesome, but the fact that it’s Chavis is even better.
To be getting this kind of production from a rookie, from a guy who is playing out of position and wasn’t even supposed to be on the team this year, is even better. The magnitude of Chavis entering the lineup can’t be measured. It certainly is a good building block for his career, and his path to the 2019 American League Rookie of the Year is wide open.