June 2, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams (53) flips to relief pitcher Seth Maness (61) during the seventh inning against the San Francisco Giants at Busch Stadium. San Francisco defeated St. Louis 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals Rookie of the Year Candidates

The St. Louis Cardinals have produced beyond expectations in 2013 with one of the  youngest rosters in the majors.  There are pitchers, position players, and coaches who are new in St. Louis, but not all of them are new with the Birds on the Bat.  Memphis, Springfield, and all of the other Cardinals affiliates, plus the scouts and front offices need lots of credit for the potential Rookie of the Year winners.

Through this weekend the Cardinals roster was ranked the third youngest in MLB.  St. Louis also has the most wins in MLB.

There are a total of 6 Redbirds rookie pitchers plus 2 rookie position players that are all proving themselves in the show.  This does not include any of the players who came up and have been sent back down.  It does include Pete Kozma, who only played in 26 games in 2012.

Trevor Rosenthal has the lowest ERA of any rookie (tied with Jim Henderson) in the National League at 1.59, and has appeared in the most games with 32.  During those games Rosenthal has an incredible 47/6 Strikeout to Walk ratio.  Opposing batters are hitting a dismal .222 versus Rosenthal who shows off a 1.00 WHIP.  ROY votes should be headed Trevor’s way if he continues to dominate.  But relievers rarely get the love that Todd Worrell did in 1986, especially if they are not finishing games.

Shelby Miller has received the most attention from the national media after his terrific start.  While the Mustang had an off day in New York last week, he still has numbers like Doc Gooden in 1984.  Opponents are only hitting .209 off of the young Cardinals starter who has 91 Ks and 17 BBs with a 0.97 WHIP.  Hopefully John Mozeliak and Mike Matheny will  give Miller a rest at some point, but his 81 innings have shown that he deserves every ounce of the hype.  Unless Shelby gets a case of Lance Lynnitis and has an awful second half, he ought to get plenty of ROY votes.

Pete Kozma has recently added a couple of errors in the field (3 total), but for St.Louis’ everyday shortstop, the .990 Fielding Percentage is more than impressive.  Compared to other rookies, Kozma is second in the NL in RBIs (25), second in hits (57), fourth in runs scored (25), and his .622 OPS is better than most critics expected.

Matt Adams has a big “WHAT IF” cloud surrounding his 2013 performance.  His early injury totally changed his production.  However, Big City still has promise to win the ROY with the highest rookie batting average (.320) in MLB.  Adams has already accumulated 24 hits and 15 RBIs in his 34 games, and only has had 75 at bats.  His SLG% is just below Evan Gattis, and his OPS is a tad above Atlanta’s phenomenal first year catcher.

The St. Louis Cardinals farm system has created players like the ones detailed above who are not just potential difference makers at the highest level, they are ready from day one.  Miller, Rosenthal and Kozma all showed hints of greatness in late 2012, and now Adams has come down to Earth to even out the rookie playing field.

With nearly 20 of the 25 players wearing the Birds on the Bat today having only worn those colors, St. Louis is farming as well as it is producing.  The rewards for the development will be demonstrated with wins, awards and possibly the first Cardinals player to win the Rookie of the Year since 2001 (Albert Pujols).

Tags: MLB St Louis Cardinals

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