If the game is 90 percent pitching…

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How is .270 with 14 homers and 63 RBI more valuable than 13-6 with a 3.94 ERA or 6-3 with 26 saves and a 1.84 ERA?
I don’t even want to get into the more complicated statistics, because the voters clearly aren’t. But Gordon Beckham has now won AL top rookie honors from The Sporting News and the Players Choice Awards.
Of course, both are voted on by players, so Beckham wasn’t likely to win one and not the other.
I just don’t see how he deserved to win either.
Beckham is going to be a very good regular for a long time, but he didn’t truly set himself apart offensively or defensively this year. His counting stats are completely unremarkable, and an 808 OPS over the course of 103 games isn’t what one expects to see from a serious Rookie of the Year contender.
Niemann was certainly more valuable with his 180 2/3 innings of above average pitching. Bailey was arguably the game’s most valuable reliever. He finished fourth in baseball in relief innings pitched, and he was fourth in ERA and first in WHIP amongst relievers with 60 innings pitched.
I’d also put Elvis Andrus above Beckham with his .267/.329/.373 line in 480 at-bats and his impressive defense at shortstop, but that’s a closer call. Bailey is the rookie most deserving of all of this hardware. He’s not going to have the same kind of career of Beckham, but he was the most effective player this year.

Orioles sign Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar
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The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.

Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.

Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.