Top Major League Rookies, Part II

Now that half the season is in the books and impact rookies have had time to shine, it’s time to update our earlier ranking.

But first a clarification: Brendan Harris, who ranked No. 7 on the previous installment, is in actuality not a rookie. Though he entered the season with just 110 big league at-bats, Harris had spent more than 45 days on a big league roster, thus depriving him of rookie status.

This is also the reason Twins reliever Pat Neshek does not make an appearance here.

Click the player names below to get up-to-date stats, but keep in mind the listed stats are through games of July 4 to provide a midseason snapshot.

1. Hunter Pence, cf, 24, Astros
AVG: .346. OBP: .374. SLG: .598. AB: 254. HR: 11. 2B: 21. SB: 7/11.
Pence has demolished NL pitching since his callup April 28. His average ranked second to Matt Holliday’s .352 mark, and his slugging percentage trailed only Barry Bonds and Prince Fielder.

2. Daisuke Matsuzaka, rhp, 26, Red Sox
W-L:
10-5. ERA: 3.53. IP: 114 2/3. SO: 119. BB: 37. HR: 9. GO/AO: 0.99.
Though he’s relinquished the top spot on this list, Matsuzaka has simply been one of the best pitchers in the league. His 119 strikeouts rank third in the AL.

3. Jeremy Guthrie, rhp, 28, Orioles
W-L:
4-2. ERA: 2.63. IP: 96. SO: 69. BB: 15. HR: 8. GO/AO: 1.37.
Guthrie, the 22nd overall pick in 2002, seemed like a curious use of a roster spot when the Orioles claimed him on waivers from the Indians in January, but he’s turned into a serious rookie of the year candidate. Despite just two wins, his ERA ranks second in the league, and his 4.6 strikeouts-walks ratio tops all pitchers on this list.

4. Ryan Braun, 3b, 23, Brewers
AVG:
.347. OBP: .385. SLG: .626. AB: 147. HR: 8. 2B: 13. SB: 8/9.
Tough to say what’s more impressive, Braun’s the .600-plus slugging or his near flawless basestealing. He’s a big reason why the Brewers lead the NL in wins and are second in runs scored.

5. Josh Hamilton, cf, 26, Reds
AVG:
.271. OBP: .362. SLG: .528. AB: 199. HR: 13. 2B: 10. SB: 3/5.
Though the attention has lessened, Hamilton keeps on hitting. He established monthly highs for average (.293), doubles (five) and walks (14) in June.

6. Troy Tulowitzki, ss, 22, Rockies
AVG:
.285. OBP: .358. SLG: .437. AB: 302. HR: 9. 2B: 13. SB: 4/7.
Tulo has gotten steadily better each month, as attested to by his hitting in June: .289/.361/.515. No exception to the Coors rule, the strong-armed shortstop has slugged just .388 on the road this season.

7. Dustin Pedroia, 2b, 23, Red Sox
AVG:
.320. OBP: .402. SLG: .449. AB: 225. HR: 3. 2B: 20. SB: 1/1.
After a brutal April, Pedroia hit .415/.472/.600 in May and hasn’t looked back, and he’s developing into one of the league’s top two-hole hitters.

8. Reggie Willits, lf, 26, Angels
AVG:
.326. OBP: .420. SLG: .386. AB: 215. HR: 0. 2B: 11. SB: 18/20.
A high-energy player who gets the absolute most out of his ability, Willits has brought speed and patience to the Angels’ leadoff spot. His on-base percentage ranks fifth in the league.

9. Jason Hirsh, rhp, 25, Rockies
W-L:
4-7. ERA: 4.90. IP: 101. SO: 66. BB: 42. HR: 16. GO/AO: 0.78.
Hirsh has proven durable, but he hasn’t benefited much from pitching away from Coors. He’s 2-4, 5.00 in nine home starts and 2-3, 4.79 in eight road starts.

10. Tim Lincecum, rhp, 23, Giants
W-L:
3-2. ERA: 4.64. IP: 66. SO: 74. BB: 29. HR: 6. GO/AO: 1.03.
A tale of two months. Lincecum was untouchable in May (0-2, 3.24 in five starts with 33-11 K-BB) and awful in June (0-2, 7.71 in five starts with 29-18 K-BB).

11. Hideki Okajima, lhp, 31, Red Sox
W-L:
2-0. ERA: 0.88. IP: 41. SO: 37. BB: 10. HR: 1. GO/AO: 1.41.

12. Travis Buck, rf, 23, A’s
AVG:
.283. OBP: .385. SLG: .489. AB: 180. HR: 6. 2B: 11. SB: 1/2.

13. Akinori Iwamura, 3b, 28, Devil Rays
AVG:
.290. OBP: .382. SLG: .432. AB: 176. HR: 3. 2B: 10. SB: 7/10.

14. Delmon Young, rf, 21, Devil Rays
AVG:
.269. OBP: .301. SLG: .401. AB: 327. HR: 9. 2B: 16. SB: 6/9.

15. Brian Burres, lhp, 26, Orioles
W-L:
4-2. ERA: 3.38. IP: 64. SO: 53. BB: 38. HR: 4. GO/AO: 0.87.

16. Chris Young, cf, 23, Diamondbacks
AVG:
.236. OBP: .279. SLG: .428. AB: 276. HR: 12. 2B: 15. SB: 9/9.

17. John Danks, lhp, 22, White Sox
W-L:
4-6. ERA: 4.43. IP: 83 1/3. SO: 65. BB: 35. HR: 15. GO/AO: 0.79.

18. Joakim Soria, rhp, 23, Royals
W-L:
1-2. ERA: 2.27. IP: 35 2/3. SO: 39. BB: 14. HR: 0. GO/AO: 0.62.

19. Mark Reynolds, 3b, 23, Diamondbacks
AVG:
.265. OBP: .322. SLG: .515. AB: 136. HR: 6. 2B: 10. SB: 0/1.

20. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, c/1b, 22, Braves
AVG:
.309. OBP: .358. SLG: .474. AB: 97. HR: 4. 2B: 4. SB: 0/0.

TEN TO KEEP AN EYE ON

Tony Abreu, Dodgers
Brian Bannister, Royals
Michael Bourn, Phillies
Billy Butler, Royals
Yunel Escobar, Braves
James Loney, Dodgers
Andrew Miller, Tigers
Felix Pie, Cubs
Kevin Slowey, Twins
Andy Sonnanstine, Devil Rays

ALL-ROOKIE TEAM

C’”Carlos Ruiz, Phillies
1B’”Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Braves
2B’”Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
3B’”Ryan Braun, Brewers
SS’”Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
LF’”Reggie Willits, Angels
CF’”Josh Hamilton, Reds
RF’”Travis Buck, A’s
DH’”Hunter Pence, Astros

SP’”Daisuke Matsuzaka, Red Sox
SP’”Jeremy Guthrie, Orioles
SP’”Jason Hirsh, Rockies
SP’”Tim Lincecum, Giants
SP’”Brian Burres, Orioles

RP’”Hideki Okajima, Red Sox
RP’”Manny Corpas, Rockies
RP’”Matt Lindstrom, Marlins
RP’”Joakim Soria, Royals

Minors | #Daily Dish

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