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Calloni’s Corner: Will the NL ROY come from the Cardinals?

Josh Calloni, Reporter

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The Cardinals have had a very successful season, with many players coming up from Memphis making their major league debuts. Will any of these players be lucky enough to win the NL honors of Rookie of the Year.

The most impactful rookies, as the stats prove, were Harrison Bader and Jack Flaherty. While players like Austin Gomber, Yairo Munoz, Jordan Hicks and Tyler O’Neil have been statistically sound, Bader and Flaherty are above the rest. Both of which made their MLB debuts in 2017, but didn’t surpass the rookie limits, meaning they could compete for the award in 2018.

Bader was a bench role type of player from the start of the season, however, on the day of the MLB trade deadline, the Cardinals changed that. The team traded Tommy Pham to the Rays, clearing room for Bader to start everyday. Bader took this role and ran with it, playing incredible defense and making plays that left fans on their feet night in and night out. Bader, who ranks 5th in all of baseball in sprint speed at 30 feet a second, uses his speed on the bases, and in the field to impact the game. Bader has 11 home runs, is batting .267, and has driven in 35 runs. He has also stolen 14 bases. Bader’s OPS  is also above league average, his OPS being .760 and his OPS+ being 107.

“I think Bader has a chance to win because of how electric he plays, very fun to watch,” sophomore Jacob Brewer said.
Flaherty, on the other hand, was thrusted into a starting role after Adam Wainwright went down with an injury in early April. He kept that rotation spot all year, gathering nine quality starts, as well as pitching to the tune of a 2.86 ERA, with a record of 8 wins and 7 losses. Flaherty’s advanced stats are very good as well, proving that he has not gotten lucky while pitching. His FIP, for example, is 3.76, which, as FanGraphs.com says, is above average. Flaherty still has two or three starts to prove his case for rookie of the year, and will do so while trying to pitch his team into the playoffs.

“Jack Flaherty has been a really good starter this year, our most consistent. He deserves rookie of the year,” junior Tommy Flores said.

While both players make a strong case, there are certainly others in the league that make a strong case as well, if not stronger. Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna, 20, and Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto, 19 lead those. Acuna has hit 25 home runs out of the leadoff spot, has driven in 53 runs, stolen 14 bases, and has hit for a .290 average. He also has an OPS of .940 and an OPS+ of 151. As for Soto, his numbers have been equally impressive. Childish Bambino, as Nationals fans affectionately call him, has batted a higher .298, however has not hit as many home runs, only 16. His OPS and OPS+ are nearly identical to Acuna, but  Soto has three more RBI.

While there are standouts from the Cardinals, and while both Bader and Flaherty will receive Rookie of the Year votes, it could take a very strong September to overcome Soto and Acuna.

About the Writer
Josh Calloni, Reporter

My name is Josh Calloni, and I am a junior here at Timberland. I like to write, and I want to be a sports journalist. I strive to write like Ken Rosenthal....

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Calloni’s Corner: Will the NL ROY come from the Cardinals?