With Orioles uber-prospect Matt Wieters scheduled to debut today, it seems as good a time as any to run down a couple of early candidates for Rookie of the Year in the American League. Tomorrow, the National League.
1. Rick Porcello, SP, Detroit Tigers:
If the voting were held today, there's a good chanc
e Porcello would be the unanimous choice in the Junior Circuit, and deservingly so. To be totally honest, I was amped to get a chance to see the Seton Hall Prep product filling one of the rotation spots for the Erie Seawolves.
That, of course, didn't happen. Porcello knocked the socks off the Tigers' brass in spring training and was placed in the rotation to start the season. The 20-year-old got off to a bit of a slow start, but has won his last five starts and is making it look like Detroit pulled off a heist when they took him with pick No. 27 in 2007.
2. Elvis Andrus, SS, Texas Rangers:
At 20 years old, all Andrus has done is fill in for
Gold Glove winner and five-time All-Star Michael Young at shortstop. Granted, he's not exactly a hitter of Young's caliber, but his superb range and Howitzer arm more than make up for his offensive shortcomings.
His .841 revised zone rating makes him second to Jhonny Peralta in that category, and only Marco Scutaro and Jason Bartlett have gotten to more balls out of their zone than has Andrus. Of his half-dozen errors, just one has come during the course of fielding.
Of course, he's not David Eckstein with the bat, either -- he's just not Michael Young. He's needs to work on plate discipline (just eight walks in 142 PA) but, again, he's 20 years old.