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BBWAA Award Roundtable: Who will win Rookie of the Year

The Battery Power staff weighs in on who should take home the Rookie of the Year Awards.

BBWAA Awards week will get underway Monday night with the announcement of the winners of the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Awards for the National and American Leagues. The winners will be announced Monday night at 6 p.m. live on MLB Network. The Atlanta Braves have a pair of worthy finalists for the NL Award in Spencer Strider and Michael Harris.

While no one on the Battery Power staff has a vote in the actual awards, below are our thoughts and who we would vote for if we were given the opportunity. (Note: Roundtable participants were not required to vote for one of the BBWAA finalists)

National League: (Finalists: Michael Harris, Spencer Strider, Brendan Donovan)

Kris: I have flipped back and forth between Spencer Strider and Michael Harris every month since the start of June. There isn’t a wrong answer here, but you can only cast one vote. If I had one, it would go to Harris who solidified the Braves’ outfield defense upon his arrival in late May and then proved to be a valuable offensive contributor as well. Had Strider been able to finish the season, he would have probably gotten my vote.

Sam: Strider. While Harris would win almost any other year, what Strider did was insane. 4.9 fWAR to Harris’ 4.8 while being consistently good all year long was impressive. Had he finished out the year the gap wouldn’t be particularly close

Eric: I was very much leaning Strider until he missed time at the end of the season. Given that he did and Mike continued to add on means I give the edge to him. Strider has sure won a lot of these other ROY awards so far, though…

DJourn: Michael Harris II. Everyone gets an opinion and while both Harris II and Spencer Strider are almost even, I’ll use the “well, Strider has already won a few rookie awards so let’s give this one to Harris II’ argument. I’ll admit, I do have a small amount of position player bias.

Cassidy: Both! Lol. Since that isn’t possible I lean Michael Harris II just because he can have an impact every game on both sides of the ball.

Ivan: Strider. Both guys benefited from production better than their inputs (Harris outperformed his xwOBA by a lot, Strider’s FIP is much lower than his xFIP), but Strider had the added disadvantage of being used in a limited role for two months and didn’t miss a beat when transitioning to facing batters more often in a game, which is really impressive.

Daniel: I will go with Strider, although a tie would probably be an appropriate outcome. Strider and Harris came out almost dead even in fWAR (though Strider leads by a nose), but Strider was more impressive on a rate basis to me. Strider was legitimately Cy Young caliber when he pitched, but he was handicapped by not starting for the first two months of the season. Harris was a star level player in terms of his production, but Strider was simply closer to the pinnacle of performance for his role in the sport than Harris in my view and Strider would have had significantly more value accrued if his usage hadn’t handicapped him (and if we assume health).

Shawn: Michael Harris II. While both Strider and Money Mike deserve the award, I feel Harris made more overall impact with both his bat and glove. Both rookies continued to get better as the season progressed, but the level at which Harris II played at in the second half of the season earned him the award in my opinion.

Demetrius: If you had asked me this at the start of September, I figured that Michael Harris II would’ve been a no-doubter for this award. With that being said, Spencer Strider wasn’t just a good rookie – he was a top-tier pitcher in baseball as a whole. That performance against the Rockies swayed me into the camp of Strider and I think he’s going to be the award winner once it’s all said and done.

American League: (Finalists: Adley Rutschman, Julio Rodriguez, Steven Kwan)

Sam: This one doesn’t really need explanation. It’s Julio and everyone else.

Eric: Adley could end up great and Kwan is a weirdly good player, but Julio put up an insane rookie season. I’m not sure this should be particularly close, although I can respect the rate arguments for Adley.

DJourn: Julio Rodriguez is one of the reasons why I am looking forward to every team playing every team, starting next season.

Cassidy: Julio Rodriguez won the award at HR derby. He does it all. The circle guy that can single handley wins games every day.

Ivan: Nah, give it to Rutschman, who had the same fWAR as Rodriguez in 84 percent of the PAs. He had a better xwOBA, better baserunning (a counting stat), and was the third-best framer in baseball. Had Rutschman come up sooner and benefited at least a bit more from his wOBA trending to his xwOBA, I don’t think this even ends up that close.

Kris: Shout out to Rutschman who had a fine season, but I’d give the award to Julio Rodriguez whose arrival helped propel the Mariners back to the postseason. This vote should probably be closer than it will be.

Daniel: In a similar vein to my Strider rationale in the NL, I’ll go with Rutschman. Ivan beat me to the punch on most of my talking points, but I will add in that being an elite all-around catcher seems particularly impressive for a rookie, given the difficulty of the position and the general scarcity around the league of quality catching. Rutschman was essentially a better player in all facets of the game than Julio, he just played less and had less luck.

Shawn: Julio Rodriguez is the choice. He made a stellar impact from day one, made that impact in multiple facets of the game, and played a major role in the Mariners making the playoffs. He is one of the more must see talents in the game already, and could be the next young great franchise cornerstone that helps Seattle be competitive for more than a decade to come.

Demetrius: I loved what Adley Rutschman did this season, but the nod has to go to Julio Rodriguez in my opinion. This is more narrative-driven for me but it’s hard to ignore a rookie coming in and basically helping to lead a team to break a decades-long Postseason drought. If he was just a supporting character in that narrative then maybe things would be different, but he was in the lead role.

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