Bryce Harper? Not so fast. Could Todd Frazier or Wade Miley end up being the National League Rookie of the Year?
Bryce Harper has gotten most of the headlines. He deserves them, too. To do the things he has done in the Major Leagues at 19 years old is incredible. He’s one of the reasons the Nationals are one of baseball’s great stories of 2012. But as the season grinds out, Reds third baseman Todd Frazier or Diamondbacks left-hander Wade Miley may end up being the National League’s Rookie of the Year.
The Reds have gotten huge contributions from two rookies. Shortstop Zack Cozart has also done a tremendous job, leading NL rookies in multi-hit games (27), runs (55), total bases (156) and extra base hits (36). He’ll be named on most of the Rookie of the Year ballots, but his .242 batting average probably will keep him from winning.
Frazier is 26, a former first-round pick. He wasn’t prominently in the Reds’ plans this season. But when Scott Rolen got hurt, he did a tremendous job at third. When Joey Votto went down, he moved to first and has done a nice job. The Reds are 42-22 when he starts. He has made 48 starts at third, 13 at first, five in left and one at DH. He leads NL rookies in slugging (.531) and is second in home runs (13). His batting average is a very respectable .275. He’s hitting .276 with runners in scoring position.
He has 79 fewer at-bats than Harper, but his OPS is 118 points higher (.871 vs .753). Meanwhile, Harper is hitting .178 since the middle of July and his batting average is down to .258. He has three extra base hits in his last 89 at-bats.
As for Miley, 25, he wasn’t in the Diamondbacks’ original blueprint either. He made his first start on April 23 and has been money ever since. He leads NL rookies in victories with 12 and is second among starters with a 2.98 ERA. He’s second in innings and first in strikeouts.
If the Diamondbacks finish off this fast run back into contention, it would be hard to overlook his contributions. They’ve won 10 of 14 to cut their deficit in the NL West from seven games to two.