Posted at 10:56 AM on August 30, 2005
by David Zingler
Growing up in the mid 80s, I remember the epic Rookie of the Year race between Jose Canseco and Wally Joyner in 1986 and the Mark McGwire, Kevin Seitzer and Matt Nokes clash in 1987. While this years race offers no real phemons, it is interesting because of the number of players that still have a realistic shot at the award.
Today, weíll take a look at the contending position players, tomorrow the pitchers.
AL Position Players
Tadahito Iguchi, 2B, White Sox: .278/.344/.444, 14-19 SB, 63 runs
The Japanese import has been a solid contributor to the eventual AL Central Champs. The 30-year-oldís experience in Japan however, may cost him some votes.
Nick Swisher, OF, Oakland: .248/.326/.458, 17 HR, 63 RBI
Billy Beaneís Moneyball man-crush looks like the real deal, although his batting average and on-base-percentage could use a boost.
Russ Adams, SS, Toronto: .271/.345/.422, 8 HR, 55 RBI
The 25-year-old is having a solid season in Toronto and should be a fixture in their line-up for years to come.
Johnny Gomes, OF, Tampa Bay: .286/.386/.568*, 18 HR. 38 RBI
Gomes leads all rookies in homeruns and is a big reason for the Rays second half surge.
Dan Johnson, 1B, Oakland: .307/.389/.508*, 12 HR, 45 RBI
The Coon Rapids native and Blaine grad is just another of the unknown Aís that is getting it done.
My Pick: Johnson, after all heís one of us.
NL Position Players
Garrett Atkins, 3B, Colorado: .279/.352/.400, 9 HR, 55 RBI
Atkins has played well for the dreadful Rockies, but will the voters notice?
Willy Taveras, OF, Houston: .298/.336/.355, 31-42 SB, 67 runs
A catalyst for the resurgent Astros, he looks like the favorite right now.
Jeff Francoeur, OF, Atlanta: .351/.377/.655*, 10 HR
The SI coverboy (a little premature, donít you think?) has been getting the hype, but it will be tough to continue on his torrid pace.
My pick: Right now, Iíll go with Taveras, but I reserve the right to change my mind.
*Does not have enough plate appearances to qualify among league leaders.
I'm going to go with Gomes and Francoeur (if he gets enough at-bats to qualify).
I think Clint Barmes would have been running away with this if he wouldn't have broken his clavicle by falling down the stairs while carrying Todd Helton's deer meat.
I say Willy Taveras