Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.

MLB Midseason Award Winners: Rookie of the Year

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There was no baseball yesterday. There is no baseball today. There will be baseball tomorrow, but not until 7:05 PM, so it’s basically three days without anyone throwing a pitch in anger. Let’s kill the time, then, by arguing about who, if the season ended today, would be your award winners. Next up: Rookie of the Year

We are men of action. Lies do not become us. So I am not going to sit here and pretend that anyone other than Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger had a shot at the Rookie of the Year Award. Judge was covered in the MVP post. Bellinger was not called up until the end of April, and in his 68 games, he’s hit .259 with a .948 OPS, has 14 doubles, a triple, 24 homers and 56 RBI.

Judge would have to be hit by a bus next week to take himself out of contention, and would likely still be the Rookie of the Year favorite unless someone else emerged to put up a historic partial rookie season. Heck, that may not even be enough. Gary Sanchez did it last year and he came in second. Bellinger has a closer pursuer in pitcher Kyle Freeland of the Rockies, but he’s a distant, distant second. He’s tossed 107.1 innings and has a 3.77 ERA. He pitches in Coors Field, however, so that works out to a 133 ERA+. I doubt that’s terribly sustainable, though, as his he has a pretty low strikeout rate and a pretty high walk rate. Also: he’s pitched better in Denver than on the road which is . . . not expected and, again, likely not sustainable.

The Rookie of the Year Awards, barring serious injuries to Judge and Bellinger, will be a coronation, not a contest.