By: Noah Wright
Last season, Ronald Acuna and Shohei Ohtani broke onto the scene, and won NL and AL Rookie Of The Year. This year, we have seen just as many impressive rookies break onto the scene, and provide big time numbers. There are definitely some unusual names on this list, as well as some well-hyped names.
- Michael Chavis:
Chavis was one of the Red Sox top farmhands. Though he was suspended for a banned substance last season, Chavis has burst onto the MLB scene in a big way. Currently, he’s batting .282/.407/.563 in 86 plate appearances. Fangraphs pins him at 157 wRC+. While he has mainly played corner infield in the minors, he is seeing time at second base in the majors. He’s currently doing just fine at his new position with -1 DRS, but a .1 UZR.
- Christian Walker:
It’s not everyday you see a 28 year old rookie, and performing well too. However, Walker was more of a victim of lack of a way to regular playing time. But after the Diamondbacks traded all-star and MVP caliber first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, Walker found a way for everyday plate appearances. The former Oriole prospect is currently batting a strong .286/.363/.550 with 7 long balls in 157 PA’s. Walker also has a 138 wRC+ and 136 OPS+. Defensively, Walker is doing fairly well with 2 DRS, and .5 UZR at first base. Walker, even though he’s a first baseman, has shown some decent baserunning prowess. Currently, he has a 1.3 base running runs above average.
- Alex Verdugo:
Verdugo entered the 2019 season as a platoon/4th OF for the Dodgers. But an injury to center fielder A.J. Pollock opened the door for the Dodger prospect. Through his first 114 plate appearances, Verdugo is batting a strong .333/.377/.552, and 150 wRC+. He has also smacked 4 home runs. Verdugo’s bat isn’t the only thing doing extremely well this season. He has also been one of the best defensive outfielders this season. He has 8 DRS, 1.0 UZR, and .8 dWAR between left, center, and right field.
- Brandon Lowe:
Lowe is one of the most underrated rookies in 2019. After taking over primary duties at second base when Joey Wendel went down with injury, Lowe has easily filled the surprising 2018 top rookie’s performance. Lowe currently hitting for a .288/.340/.545 line in 144 PA’s. Lowe has also shown very good power, as he has blasted 8 long balls. With the leather, Lowe has been a solid up the middle defender. He has 3 DRS, and .7 UZR.
- Pete Alonso:
Alonso has looked like the future slugger the Mets were hoping for. He has blasted 12 home runs, which leads all rookies. He also leads all rookies in slugging % as well with a .590 slugging. Overall, Alonso has a .271/.385/.590 line with an impressive 154 wRC+ in 165 PA’s. The only worry the Mets could have had with Alonso is his glove at first base. However, he is holding his own, having a 1 DRS and .7 UZR.
- Fernando Tatis Jr.:
Tatis Jr. was showing a rare combo of elite power and speed. He had 6 home runs and a .550 slugging % to go with 6 stolen bases and .5 base running runs above average. He was also batting a strong a strong .300/.360 with a 143 wRC+. Tatis Jr. was also elite defense at short as well. He had 3 DRS, -.5 UZR, and .4 dWAR. However, Tatis Jr. landed on the 10 Day-IL a few weeks ago. He has only had 111 PA’s with the Padres this season.
- Chris Paddack:
Paddack was acquired by the Padres when they traded closer Fernando Rodney to the Marlins. Yes, the Marlins gave up Chris Paddack for a year of Fernando Rodney. Regardless, Paddack has looked like a future ace for the Padres. He has a 1.55 ERA and league leading miniscule .689 WHIP. Paddack also has a 2.30 FIP. In 40 and two thirds innings, the Padres’ right hander has struck out 46 batters, and has walked only 10. Paddack also leads the league in hits per 9 with 4.0. He currently is the hottest pitcher in the NL.