Ten Rookie Predictions
Here are ten rookie predictions. Although each of them is intended to be plausible, this is just for fun. Don't take these especially seriously.
Brandon Belt, 1B, San Francisco Giants: Belt will get off to a slow start in April, catch on fire in May, and remain hot the rest of the season, finishing with a .283/.365/.473 line and winning National League Rookie of the Year honors.
Aroldis Chapman, LHP, Cincinnati Reds: Chapman will be the "forgotten rookie" early in the season, not getting as much attention as others while struggling some with his command in a relief role. His ERA will be over 4.00, though he'll still be striking people out. But by the first of August, people will notice that he's sitting there with a 3.00 FIP. He finishes with 89 strikeouts in 70 relief innings, converts to starting in 2012, and wins 18 games.
Aaron Crow, RHP, Kansas City Royals: A surprise winner of a spring roster spot, Crow thrives in a relief role and everyone forgets how disappointing he was in the minors last year. He and teammate Collins form a strong one-two punch in the Royals pen all year. When Joakim Soria is traded in late July, Crow takes over the majority of the closer role, finishing with a 3.00 ERA and a 70/29 K/BB in 68 innings with 12 saves.
Tim Collins, LHP, Kansas City Royals: Collins will have an excellent year in short/middle relief for the Royals, pitching 59 innings with a 65/18 K/BB ratio and an ERA well below 3.00. He'll pick up five saves in concert with Aaron Crow after the Royals trade Joakim Soria in late July, and some people will favor him over Crow as a possible closer entering 2012.
Kyle Drabek, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays: Drabek will throw a no-hitter in early May and establish himself as an early Rookie of the Year candidate. But a "dead-arm" period in late July will result in a series of poor outings and a trip the disabled list with a vague injury. He'll return in September and pitch well, finishing with an ERA slightly above league average in 150 innings but losing out in the ROY sweepstakes.
Danny Espinosa, 2B, Washington Nationals: After a fast start that finds him hitting .330 (with a terrible BB/K ratio) on May 1st, Espinosa will pitch into a horrible slump and ends up losing his job temporarily in early August, though he gets it back in September. He finishes the season with a .239 batting average and a .315 OBP, though he hits 14 homers on the season.
Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves: Brandon Belt will suck up a lot of attention all year and win ROY, but Freeman will very quietly have a fine season that ends up with numbers not too far from Belt's: .275/.345/.460.
Jeremy Hellickson, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays: Hellickson will win American League Rookie of the Year, posting numbers not much different than what he did last September: 3.65 ERA, 156/52 K/BB in 175 innings, 169 hits. He'll get an unexpectedly good amount of run support and win 14 games.
Jesus Montero, C, New York Yankees: Montero will go on a tear in Triple-A and be hitting .333 with 15 homers in early August. The Yankees find a spot for him in the lineup due to veteran injuries and call him up. He'll struggle early and be disappointing, spending some time on the bench, but go on a power tear in late September, hitting five homers in his last ten games, though retaining his rookie eligibility for 2012.
Tsuyoshi Nishioka, 2B, Minnesota Twins: The Japanese import will get off to a hot start and be hitting over .300 on June 1st, but he'll slump in the second half and hit .275/.345/.405 with 16 steals for the Twins overall. He'll provide exceptional defense at second base and will win a Gold Glove.