First-third awards - AL Rookie of the Year
Toronto’s Scott Richmond was the AL’s top rookie during April, but he’s since fallen behind four players, all of whom have a case for Rookie of the Year honors to date:
Elvis Andrus (SS Rangers) - While Matt Wieters, Nolan Reimold, Aaron Cunningham and others still have plenty of time to make up ground, Andrus is the only AL rookie position player to already have two solid months under his belt. The 20-year-old is batting .285/.333/.424 with nine steals in 10 tries. It’s hardly a spectacular line, especially considering that it’s being inflated by playing in Arlington. However, it’s the smaller part of what he’s doing. His glovework at short has been a difference maker for a team that’s going from a 5.37 ERA in 2008 to a 4.56 mark so fat this year.
Andrew Bailey (RHP Athletics) - With a 2.12 ERA in 34 innings, Bailey has been one of the AL’s top relievers, and the peripherals back up the numbers, as he’s struck out 40 and allowed just 20 hits on the season. Of course, he’ll need to seize the closer’s role on a full-time basis in order to stay in the Rookie of the Year race. Holds won’t get it done.
Josh Outman (LHP Athletics) - An uptick in velocity has made Outman one of the game’s hardest-throwing left-handed starters, and it’s translated into plenty of success over the last five weeks. He’s 3-0 with a 2.49 ERA in his last seven starts. Command is an issue, so he’s no lock to stay in the hunt. However, there’s been nothing fluky about his success so far.
Rick Porcello (RHP Tigers) - Even though he hasn’t been allowed to throw more than 95 pitches in an outing this season, Porcello has managed to work deep enough into games to win six times in 12 starts. He has a 3.70 ERA thanks to his power sinker, and if the Tigers decide to be a little less restrictive with his pitch count later this season, he could go after more strikeouts with his curve. The Tigers, though, will likely be very careful with him all year long, and they’ll likely shut him down in early or mid-September if they fall out of contention.
First-third AL ROY