AL Rookie of Year winner rates among all-time greats
By Roger Schlueter
Special to MLB.com |
The entire history of Major League Baseball has seen only 10 players enjoy a debut campaign in an age-20 or younger season and celebrate that year by amassing at least 20 home runs. There are six outfielders (Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Tony Conigliaro, Giancarlo Stanton, and Bryce Harper), two third basemen (Eddie Mathews and Bob Horner), and one first baseman (Orlando Cepeda) among the 10; before Monday, there had never been a shortstop to do this.
From this one perspective, Carlos Correa -- the Baseball Writers' Association of America's 2015 American League Rookie of the Year -- is one of a kind. It was that kind of year for the former No. 1 pick, and it presents just one way to try to take stock of an extraordinary rookie campaign.
Correa's 22 home runs were amassed despite coming to the plate only 432 times, for a 5.09 home run percentage. Looking at the same 10 identified in this intro, Correa comes out in the middle of the pack:
• Horner (age-20 season) compiled a 6.41 percentage in 1978; he was named National League Rookie of the Year.
• Robinson (20) owned a 5.70 percentage in 1956; he was the NL Rookie of the Year.
• Stanton (20) produced a 5.56 percentage in 2010; he did not receive any votes for NL Rookie of the Year behind winner Buster Posey.
• Conigliaro (19) posted a 5.41 percentage in 1964; he did not receive any votes for AL Rookie of the Year behind winner Tony OIiva.
• Williams (20) posted a 4.59 percentage in 1939; there was no Rookie of the Year Award yet.
• Mathews (20) owned a 4.22 percentage in 1952; he was third in NL Rookie balloting (winner: Joe Black).
• Cepeda (20) posted a 3.89 percentage in 1958; he was named NL Rookie of the Year.
• Mays (20) owned a 3.82 percentage in 1951; he was named NL Rookie of the Year.
• Harper (19) compiled a 3.69 percentage in 2012; he claimed NL Rookie honors.
The appreciation for Correa can undoubtedly extend to other areas as well. A few other ways of thinking about his season:
• He became the seventh rookie (by the current definition) in an age-20 or younger season to have at least 400 plate appearances and a slugging percentage of at least .500. The previous six: Williams, Robinson, Cepeda, Vada Pinson, Conigliaro and Mike Trout.
• Correa was the eighth rookie in an age-20 or younger season to have at least 400 plate appearances and an OPS+ of at least 130. Aside from the previously mentioned Williams, Robinson, Conigliaro and Trout, the three others before Correa: Dick Hoblitzell, Rogers Hornsby and Jason Heyward.
• Correa produced the 10th highest WAR for any rookie in an age-20 or younger season, and the highest for a shortstop (under these conditions). The previous high at the position came from Arky Vaughan in 1932.
• Correa produced the fifth highest isolated power for a rookie in an age-20 or younger season (minimum 400 plate appearances), behind Williams, Robinson, Conigliaro and Trout.
• Correa produced the eighth highest ISO for any player (regardless of experience) in an age-20 or younger season (min. 400 plate appearances). The top 10 demands to be identified. In order of year in which the top-10 mark was produced: Jimmie Foxx (1928), Mel Ott (1929), Williams (1939), Mickey Mantle (1952), Robinson (1956), Conigliaro (1964 and 1965), Alex Rodriguez (1996), Trout (2012) and Correa (2015).
For those counting, this final list includes five Hall of Famers and six members of the 500-home run club. It's mostly outfielders, and only Rodriguez and Correa are shortstops. There are 14 MVP Awards belonging to the previous nine. One can easily see a future where the 2015 AL Rookie of the Year adds that piece of hardware to what could be an immense collection when bat, glove and spikes are all set aside.
Roger Schlueter is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.