Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  By JAY CLEMONS  |  Last updated 7/31/13
For this year only, perhaps the Major League Baseball powers-that-be should abandon the concept of selecting Rookie of the Year recipients for the American and National leagues ... and just roll with two trophies to the best players regardless of affiliation. For whatever reason, this year's rookie chase is heavily slanted to the Senior Circuit stars, so much that not a single American Leaguer was considered for this week's survey of seasonal top performers: 1. OF Yasiel Puig, Dodgers Stats: 10 HR, 23 RBI, 36 Runs, 7 Steals, .370 BA, .413 OBP Puig had an amazing week for the Dodgers, leading the club in hits (nine), runs (six), homers (two), batting average (.375), on-base percentage (.444), slugging (.708) and OPS (1.153) from July 23-30. As a capper, the 22-year-old Cuban who has taken America by storm over the last two months, notched the first walk-off homer on July 28, clinching the Dodgers'1-0 win over the Reds. Puig, a midseason co-favorite for National League Rookie of the Year, has racked up multiple-hit outings in 22 of 49 games marking his debut on June 3. 2. SP Jose Fernandez, Marlins Stats: 7-5, 2.71 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 12442 K-BB Fernandez could be a tough sell for Rookie of the Year honors, simply because the Marlins are exploring the notion of limiting his innings in August and September or the Strasburg option of shutting Fernandez down after 150-160 innings. It's a smart move ... even if we now have a reason to watch the Marlins when Giancarlo Stanton isn't at the plate. For the year, opposing hitters have a paltry .195 batting average against Fernandez, who turns 21 today (July 31). Since June 1, Fernandez is a perfect 10 for 10 in surrendering three runs or less, a credit to the Marlins' better-than-expected defense. And in that span, the rookie fireballer has notched seven-plus strikeouts six times highlighted by three double-digit outings. 3. SP Shelby Miller, Cardinals Stats: 10-7, 2.79 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 12432 K-BB If Miller was an American Leaguer, he'd be a shoo-in for Rookie of the Year honors given his sublime seasonal numbers and the relative dearth of quality competition in that category. The Cardinals right-hander's 30-day stats are remarkably similar to his yearly tallies 2-1, 2.78 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 2310 K-BB and .224 opponents' batting average detailing consistency that's typically uncommon in 22-year-old rookies. To open the season, Miller posted 12 straight outings of allowing three runs or fewer. The kid has a similar streak going in July, with four straight starts of three runs or less. Last but not least, Miller has recorded five or more strikeouts in nine of last his last 10 outings with a June 28 clunker being the lone hiccup. 4. SP Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers Stats: 9-3, 3.14 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 10524 K-BB Did you catch the highlights (or live feed) of Ryu's seven-inning gem against the Reds on July 27, when he surrendered just one run, one walk and two hits, while striking out nine batters? It might have been the signature performance from the Dodgers rookie, and one that clinched a rotational spot for the playoffs if Los Angeles (57-48) can maintain its 3 12-game lead in the National League West. At 26, Ryu has been an eminently consistent asset for the Dodgers all season: Among 20 starts, he has allowed three runs or less 16 times; and in that same span, he has yielded three or less walks 18 times. 5. SP Julio Teheran, Braves Stats: 7-5, 3.07 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 10626 K-BB Ah, so this is why the Braves refused to part with Julio Teheran during offseason trade talks with the Diamondbacks, involving Justin Upton (and Chris Johnson the National League's current batting leader). Teheran, who turned 22 three days after Upton was traded to Atlanta for a boatload prospects, was an untouchable trade commodity in the Braves' eyes. And today, that stubbornness is paying off in a big-time way. Teheran has most certainly turned a significant corner of late, posting 10 outings of zero or one run allowed since April 23. Of equal importance, Teheran has yielded three or less walks in all 20 starts to date a rare rookie feat that belies his precocious age. HONORABLE MENTION SP Zack Wheeler, Mets Stats: 4-1, 3.55 ERA, 1.34 WHP, 3623 K-BB Against the Marlins on Tuesday, Wheeler a pre-deadline acquisition for the Mets two years ago (in exchange for Carlos Beltran) took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, before settling on just two runs and three hits allowed (no decision). On a larger scale, Wheeler has a five-game streak of surrendering three runs or less and a seven-outing streak of three walks or less. Put it all together, and Wheeler is slowly, but steadily catching up to the New York rookie hype of fellow Mets pitcher Matt Harvey at least on the field.
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