The AL fired off all its rounds with a 2012 rookie class that featured Mike Trout, Yu Darvish, Yoenis Cespedes, Jarrod Parker, Hisashi Iwakuma, Matt Moore, Tommy Milone and many others. This year, the strong rookie class is in the other league, with Shelby Miller, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Julio Teheran leading the way and Yasiel Puig potentially putting in a charge.
The AL class, on the other hand, is extraordinarily weak 40 percent of the way through the season.
Here are all the AL rookies with 100 at-bats:
Aaron Hicks (CF Twins): .179/.249/.326, 6 HR, 19 RBI, 4 SB in 190 AB
Conor Gillaspie (3B White Sox): .248/.313/.360, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 0 SB in 161 AB
J.B. Shuck (OF Angels): .278/.324/.349, 0 HR, 13 RBI, 0 SB in 126 AB
Brandon Barnes (OF Astros): .282/.341/.419, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 4 SB in 117 AB
Robbie Grossman (OF Astros): .198/.310/.243, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 2 SB in 111 AB
Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias, hitting a completely unsustainable .446/.494/.581 in 74 at-bats, has been the league’s top position rookie so far. Still, the true rays of hope come in the form of the Rangers’ Jurickson Profar (.258/.315/.379 in 66 AB), the Twins’ Oswaldo Arcia (.255/.318/.449 in 98 AB) and the Mariners’ Nick Franklin (.250/.353/.455 in 44 AB).
The pitching side isn’t much better. Six AL rookies have made at least five starts so far:
Nick Tepesch (Rangers): 3-5, 3.92 ERA, 45/16 K/BB in 62 IP
Justin Grimm (Rangers): 5-3, 5.25 ERA, 51/20 K/BB in 60 IP
Dan Straily (Athletics): 3-2, 4.67 ERA, 44/15 K/BB in 52 IP
Brandon Maurer (Mariners): 2-7, 6.93 ERA, 32/17 K/BB in 49 1/3 IP
Pedro Hernandez (Twins): 2-1, 5.85 ERA, 17/10 K/BB in 32 1/3 IP
Brad Peacock (Astros): 1-3, 8.07 ERA, 23/17 K/BB in 29 IP
Those last three are all back in the minors now.
And while some relievers have enjoyed moderate success (Ryan Pressly, Preston Claiborne, Cody Allen and Alex Torres most notably), none of them are threatening for closing gigs. There doesn’t seem to be an Addison Reed or a Sean Doolittle in the bunch.
A couple of rookies will emerge as the year goes on. Tampa Bay’s Wil Myers should debut soon. Seattle called up Mike Zunino today. Profar and Arcia could force their teams to play them regularly. Baltimore’s Kevin Gausman and Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer could start fulfilling their potential, and maybe Bruce Rondon will yet factor into the closing mix for Detroit. Still, as of June 11, we’re probably looking at either Nick Tepesch or Jose Iglesias as the AL Rookie of the Year and that’s pretty hard to fathom.