As the regular season draws to a close, there will be some discussions over the coming weeks for end-of-season awards. Talk will heat up about MVP’s, Cy Young’s and Rookies of the Year. Despite their dreadful record, the Arizona Diamondbacks have had two rookies who have performed well in 2014. While center fielder Ender Inciarte has improved his game greatly since he first came up, the outfielder that has a stronger case to be made for National League Rookie of the Year is David Peralta.
Cincinnati Reds’ outfielder Billy Hamilton is the one with the name recognition. He was one of the more highly touted rookies entering this season. He has certainly lived up to the hype of his speed with 55 stolen bases, good for second in all of baseball (three behind Dee Gordon). He has 135 hits and 71 runs scored while playing in 132 of the Reds’ 138 games. These are all very impressive numbers for a rookie. However, you can argue that Peralta has had the better season even though he has played in a lot less games. His .292 batting average and .327 on-base percentage are better than Hamilton’s .269 and .305 numbers. Peralta has eight triples compared to Hamilton’s seven and his six assists in the outfield compare favorably to Hamilton’s nine. Peralta’s 28 multi-hit games are nine shy of Hamilton’s but the D’back has had roughly 250 fewer at-bats than the Red. Project Peralta’s numbers over 162 games, and most of them could easily exceed the numbers put up by Hamilton.
Another guy who will get strong consideration will be New York Mets’ pitcher Jacob deGrom. Since he is a pitcher, we can’t really compare numbers between the two players. DeGrom has been tremendous despite the lack of run support. His record is only 7-6 in 18 starts but his ERA is superb 2.94. In 113 1/3 innings he has allowed only 99 hits and and 7 walks while striking out 106. DeGrom should easily have 10 or more wins; in his debut on May 15th, he threw seven innings of one run ball only to be tagged with the loss. On May 26th, he pitched 6 2/3 innings of shutout ball only to receive a no-decision. It will be interesting to see if the Mets shut down DeGrom early; if so, that would give Peralta a better chance to finish above him.
All three players are very worthy candidates. The big strike against Peralta is he has only been with Arizona since June 1st. Hamilton has been the starting center fielder in Cincinnati since Opening Day. However, in my opinion, Peralta has been the better overall player. DeGrom has about two weeks more of service time than Peralta so the difference isn’t as large. Plus, there is a chance that he may skip starts at the end of this month. With less than 30 games left to play, an injury or poor play could alter the course of this race. I wouldn’t have a problem if either Hamilton or DeGrom took home the award. However, David Peralta gets my nod.