Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Should Lucas Harrell get some Rookie of the Year love?

Yesterday, we noted on Twitter that Lucas Harrell and Arizona's Wade Miley were the only two NL "rookie" pitchers to have double-digit wins (according to MLB.com). I put "rookie" in quotation marks because I didn't know if Lucas Harrell actually qualified for Rookie status, having made his MLB debut in 2010. It actually turns out that Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn, with 13 wins, is also a rookie, so it was a little off.

However, if I had done four seconds worth of research, I would have found that, yeah, Lucas Harrell is a rookie, due to his having pitched less than 50 innings and spending fewer than 45 days on an active 25-man roster. So, should he get some love from the voters for NL Rookie of the Year?

Of course you know about Lucas Harrell. It's likely that nobody else does, but that's not the point. For a team with 42 wins, Harrell is the proud owner of 10 of them. He actually has a winning record for a team 52 games under .500. Harrell's 3.81 ERA leads the team among remaining starters with 2+ starts. The Astros' team ERA (with Harrell factored in) is a stout 4.73. His 1.31 WHIP is much better than the team 1.44 WHIP.

And it doesn't seem like a fluke. Via FanGraphs, Harrell's FIP is 3.70, and his xFIP is 3.85 - which tells us that he isn't getting incredibly lucky. His BABIP is a tad low at .285, but it's not J.A. Happ-esque.

But the question is, should Lucas Harrell get some Rookie of the Year votes? Let's look at the competition:

Pitchers
Wade Miley - ARI. 4.1 WAR, 2.90 ERA, 3.14 FIP, 3.79 xFIP
Mike Fiers - MIL. 3.0 WAR, 3.11 ERA, 2.66 FIP, 3.52 xFIP
Lucas Harrell - HOU. 2.6 WAR, 3.81 ERA, 3.70 FIP, 3.85 xFIP.
Lance Lynn - STL. 2.4 WAR, 4.07 ERA, 3.57 FIP, 3.76 xFIP

Hitters
Bryce Harper - WSH. 3.0 WAR, .256/.325/.433, 485 PAs.
Todd Frazier - CIN. 2.9 WAR, .289/.348/.534, 400 PAs.
Zack Cozart - CIN. 2.3 WAR, .243/.285/.402, 560 PAs.

Bryce Harper is obviously the most visible candidate for NL ROY voting, and the Nationals and Reds are division-leaders, while the Cardinals are holding the last Wild Card spot by 1.5 games. The Diamondbacks - aren't awful. The Brewers aren't either. See where I'm going with this?

All of the players whose names don't rhyme with "Mucus Werrell" are on good to decent teams. If this season was about finding out where tha quality playas at, the Astros have a quality player that Ed Wade plucked off waivers last July. Will Harrell win NL Rookie of the Year? Probably not, but he certainly needs more credit than he's getting.

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