Top 10 Candidates To Win AL Rookie of the Year in 2016
Baseball fans have awaken from their off-season hibernation eager to kick their winter doldrums to the curb in anticipation of another baseball season full of promise . As always, with a new season comes new expectations for players and personnel alike but especially for the prospects attempting to prove their worth. Here is a look at 10 of the most promising American League hopefuls for the 2016 Rookie of the Year honors. For all the poolies out there, these may be a few names to keep tucked away in your back pocket heading into your respective drafts.
Note: The 10 players are in no particular order.
Aaron Judge– New York Yankees
Lewis Brinson– Texas Rangers
Max Kepler– Minnesota Twins
Tim Anderson– Chicago White Sox
Byron Buxton– Minnesota Twins
(Ranked #2 on BA Top 100)
Byron Buxton is the odds on favourite to snare the AL Rookie of the Year honours in 2016. The 22-year old struggled for the Twinkies at the end of last season batting an uninspiring .209 with a .576 OPS and 2 home runs in 46 games. The former 2nd overall pick can only go up from here with his debut under his belt and a fresh season on the horizon.
Hyun Soo Kim– Baltimore Orioles
The 28-year old Hyun Soo Kim agreed to a contract with the Orioles after 10 seasons with the Doosan Bears of the Korean Baseball Organization. The lefty swinging first basemen/outfielder was a career .326 hitter in Korea and enjoyed his best power output last season when he belted 28 bombs for the Bears. Kim profiles as a professional hitters who should become an everyday player with the O’s out of spring training.
Byung-ho Park– Minnesota Twins
Byung-ho Park is also a veteran of the Korean Baseball Organization and projects to have better power then that of his fellow-countryman Kim. Park was a career .281 hitter after 9 seasons in the KBO with the Nexen Heroes and the LG Twins. The 29-year old belted 210 round trippers during his career in Korea including 53 and 52 homers the last two seasons respectively.
Jose Berrios– Minnesota Twins
(Ranked #28 on BA Top 100)
Jose Berrios is another blue-chipper from the stocked Twins farm system. The 21-year old has dominated at every single level including a stint in Triple A last season. Berrios was 14-5 with a 2.87 earned run average between Double and Triple A last season. The former 1st rounder also fanned 175 hitters in 166.1 innings of work in 2015. The only thing left for Berrios to conquer is the major league level.
A.J. Reed– Houston Astros
(Ranked #11 on BA Top 100)
A.J. Reed absolutely demolished minor league pitching last season going yard 34 times between Single A and Double A for the Astros. The larger than life first baseman will be battling Jon Singleton for the starting position out of camp and barring a setback he should be with the big club at some point during the 2016 campaign regardless of the outcome. In 2 minor league seasons Reed has batted .324 with 46 round trippers in 203 games to his credit.
Blake Snell– Tampa Bay Rays
(Ranked #12 on BA Top 100)
Blake Snell is the best pitching prospect in the Tampa Bay Rays farm system and should get an opportunity to prove his worth at the major league level in 2016. The 23-year old climbed 3 ranks last season leaving opposition hitters in his dust. He went 15-4 with a remarkable 1.41 earned run average while whiffing 163 batters in 134 innings of work concluding the season at Triple A. This kid is the real deal and could upset Buxton if given the opportunity out of camp.
Nomar Mazara– Texas Rangers
(Ranked #21 on BA Top 100)
Nomar Mazara is only 21-years old however if the youngster has a strong camp, he could become a viable option to replace the injured Josh Hamilton in the Rangers outfield. Mazara ended his 2015 campaign in Triple A with the Round Rock Express where he hit .358 in 20 contests. He finished the campaign batting .298 with an .808 OPS and 14 home runs in 131 games between two levels. A long shot to make team out of camp but Mazara should debut sometime in 2016.
Joey Gallo– Texas Rangers
(Ranked #10 on BA Top 100)
Joey Gallo got a sniff of the major leagues in 2015 appearing in 36 games for the Texas Rangers. The big left-hander batted .204 with an OPS of .717 and 6 home runs to compliment his 57 strike outs in 36 games with the big club. The 22-year old will have to eradicate some of his strikeouts if he does plan on sticking at the major league level, the free-swinging Gallo has whiffed 568 times in 383 career minor league games.
Sean Manaea– Oakland Athletics
(Ranked #48 on BA Top 100)
Sean Manaea was acquired by the Oakland Athletics as the main component in the Ben Zobrist swap with the Royals. The 6’5″ lefty features a power-arm and draws comparisons to Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson. Last season Manaea compiled a 2.66 earned run average in 14 starts striking out 90 in 74.1 innings of work. The 24-year old ended the season in Double A but should make the jump to the Athletics rotation during the course of the 2016 campaign.
Raul Mondesi – Kansas City Royals
(Ranked #29 on BA Top 100)
In a surprising twist, Raul Mondesi made his MLB debut in the World Series for the Kansas City Royals. The 20-year old garnered one at bat registering a strike-out in the series but was along for the ride. Last season the speedy Mondesi played in Double A where he batted .243 with an OPS of .651 while swiping 19 bags and connecting for 6 home runs in 81 contests. Mondesi will have to show better plate discipline and learn to work a walk in order to exploit his speed if he wants to be a successful major leaguer.