Following on from last week’s look at the AL rookies whose chances of winning Rookie of the Year have been severely dented by the dramatic emergence of Mike Trout, here are the NL freshmen who are unfortunate enough to be making their debuts at the same time as Bryce Harper.
The crop of ‘second tier’ National League rookies might not be as strong as their AL compatriots, but Miley’s name stands out above the rest. In a Diamondbacks system awash with big name pitching prospects like Trevor Bauer, Archie Bradley and Tyler Skaggs, Miley didn’t garner much pre-season attention. Despite that, he was the first of the team’s starting pitching prospects to get a shot in the rotation and he’s done nothing to indicate he doesn’t belong there. Miley leads all MLB rookies with 82.1 innings and has around three times as many strikeouts as walks. For a prospect who was never known as a control pitcher to only be walking 5% of the hitters he’s faced is an excellent sign that he is making real progress on the mound.
Although never a big name prospect, Nieuwenhuis’s big 2011 at Triple-A (.298/.403/.505) meant he was the first outfielder to be called up when Jason Bay went down injured early in the season. Since his call up, the outfielder has shown that he can help the Mets in a number of ways both offensively and defensively. He might not excel in any particular department but his .286/.344/.420 line with a decent glove has shown he has the skill set to be an everyday player even if he is unlikely to be a star. While he is available to the Mets at the league minimum he is a very nice player to have around.
One of the pre-season favourites for the Rookie of the Year award, as much due to his relative job security rather than any superstar talent, Cozart has solidified a shortstop position that has been difficult to fill for the Reds in the last few years. A roughly league average hitter who can play shortstop is an extremely valuable commodity, particularly given the low bar the position is setting offensively at the moment. Billy Hamilton might be the most exciting prospect around at the moment, but the Reds will be well aware that the incumbent at Hamilton’s current position is doing a fine job in his own right.