2016 MLB All-Rookie team (so far)

Max Kepler - Photo Credit - Arturo Pardavila III

Max Kepler – Photo Credit – Arturo Pardavila III

 

This year’s crop of rookies were not nearly as flashy or “sexy” as last year’s. Remember last season there was a top prospect like Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Joey Gallo or Kris Bryant getting called up every other day it seemed like.

2016 has not been as exciting when it comes to first-year players to your casual baseball fans but there has been a ton of production from the youngsters.

Here is my All-Rookie team for the season so far. Keep in mind that we still have a whole month to play so this could change by October.

 

Pitcher – Michael Fulmer – Detroit Tigers

Fulmer was acquired by the Detroit Tigers last season at the trade deadline. It cost them prolific slugger Yoenis Cespedes but they are more than satisfied with their return in Fulmer.

Fulmer started off the season shaky — posting a 6.52 ERA in his first four starts — but he followed that up with a masterful nine-start stretch when he went 7-1 with a 0.89 ERA.

Well, Justin Verlander has seemed to regain his old form back so Fulmer is not the team’s “ace” anymore but he is not a bad number 2.

Runner-up : Kenta Maeda (LAD)

Catcher – Gary Sanchez – New York Yankees

It was a little difficult picking a guy that has only appeared in 18 games this season, but when those 18 games are performed as well as Sanchez, it is hard to overlook. The catcher position is not as deep for rookies so it was an easy decision.

He is the undisputed leader of the new “Baby Bombers” and has been on fire since making his debut.

He had an eight-game stretch where he hit .517 (15-29) with 7 HR’s, 2 doubles and 11 RBI.

Can he keep that up? As a rookie playing the most physically exhausting position it would be tough to, but he can definitely lead the new core.

Runner-up : Willson Contreras (CHC)

First baseman – Tommy Joseph -Philadelphia Phillies

Joseph was drafted and developed as a catcher by the San Francisco Giants in 2009 but a trade to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2012 (the Hunter Pence deal) and numerous concussions forced the position switch. He has 16 homers so far and is eventually expected to take over for Ryan Howard as the first baseman of the future.

Runner-up : Dae-Ho Lee (SEA)

Second baseman – Ryan Schimpf – San Diego Padres

Yes, Schimpf’s batting average is only .217.

He may never hit for a high average in the majors but we have already seen what he WILL do. He will have a ton of extra-base hits, as he has already shown this season at the highest level and also in the minors.

Schimpf has only 38 base hits on the season, but 28 of those hits have gone for extra bases.

His .549 slugging percentage is just ridiculous when you consider how low his batting average is on the season. He posted an insane .729 slugging percentage this season at Triple-A so the Padres were forced to see what this guy could do at the major league level.

Runner-up : Trea Turner (WSH)

Third baseman – Cheslor Cuthbert – Kansas City Royals

The Royals were not expecting Cuthbert to get so much playing time this season but the season-ending injury to one of their cornerstones, Mike Moustakas has forced them to play the rookie every day. He has rewarded them nicely with a solid season — .292 avg 10 HR 32 RBI.

Runner-up : Alex Bregman (HOU)

Corey Seager - Photo Credit - Arturo Pardavila III

Corey Seager – Photo Credit – Arturo Pardavila III

Shortstop : Corey Seager – Los Angeles Dodgers

This was by FAR the toughest choice to make, as I could have went with Seager, Trevor Story or Aledmys Diaz.

All three all having fantastic seasons, but Story (27 HR) is out for the season with a torn UCL in his left thumb and Diaz (.423 average in April) has been out since the end of July due to a right thumb fracture so I just went with the healthiest guy by default.

It almost seems unfair that Seager is still considered a “rookie” because he appeared in 27 games last September and played very well, hitting .337 for a contender.

He is on a first-place team this season and not only is he an everyday player, but he leads the club in average (.324), runs (86), hits (158), doubles (35), and OPS (.923).

Runner-up : Trevor Story (COL)

Left fielder – David Dahl – Colorado Rockies

It’s too bad that Trevor Story got hurt shortly after Dahl made his debut because those two in the lineup would have been fun to watch.

Either way, Dahl has made his mark on the league the same way Story did back in April.

Dahl opened his career with a 17-game hitting streak and he has only gone hitless in 2 of his 28 career games. He is a hitting machine and Coors Field should make those numbers even better as his career moves forward.

Runner-up : Brandon Drury (ARZ)

Center fielder – Tyler Naquin – Cleveland Indians

Naquin is another rookie that has benefited from a franchise player missing significant time this season. Michael Brantley has appeared in only seven games this season so someone had to fill his spot.

Or at least try to.

Naquin was sent back and forth to the minors during the month of May but ince being called up on June 1st, (for good) and becoming basically the team’s everyday center fielder, he has established himself as an offensive force.

While he has struggled a bit so far in August, he posted a .343 average with 12 homers and 30 RBI during June & July.

Runner-up : Travis Jankowski (SD)

Right fielder – Max Kepler – Minnesota Twins

Kepler did not get much playing time in April, and was even sent down to Triple A, where he suffered a left groin injury but he has posted a .256 average with 15 HR and 53 RBI since the beginning of June.

He has exactly 15 HR and 53 RBI on the season so that should tell you how little playing time he received during the first month of the season.

Runner-up : Nomar Mazara (TEX)

Feel free to disagree with me.

 

– Khristian Peel

 

 

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