Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 6/11/13
It's no secret the most impressive rookies reside in the National League. Evan Gattis, Shelby Miller and Hyun-Jin Ryu have been featured regularly in this space all season. Let's give them the week off and take a look at the top five rookies in the American League(all stats through Monday). 1. Nick Tepesch, RHP, Rangers3-5, 3.92 ERA, 45 K, 1.24 WHIP in 62 IP Tepesch won the No. 5 starter's spot in spring training and promptly won three of his first four starts. Meanwhile, teammate Justin Grimm, also a rookie, went 3-0 with 1.59 ERA in April. Both right-handers have taken their lumps since then, but Tepesch has emerged as the more reliable starter with the superior arsenal (mid-90s fastball, nasty cutter, curveball, changeup). Tepesch got knocked around in his last start, allowing a career-high six runs in seven innings. Four of those run came in the sixth inning, which underscores Tepesch's problem. He's limiting hitters to a .187 batting average for the first two trips through the order, but they're hitting .420 thereafter. If Tepesch can trust his repertoire and vary his pitch sequences deeper in games, he could develop into an ace. 2. Conor Gillaspie, 3B, White Sox.248.313.360, 4 HR, 15 RBI Acquired from San Francisco in February, Gillaspie made the White Sox as a utility infielder and took over full-time at third base when Gordon Beckham broke his wrist in early April. Gillaspie hit .311 in April and .263 in May for the most anemic lineup in the American League. Now he's caught the oh-fer bug. Gillaspie is hitless in June (0-for-20), but he still leads all AL rookies in hits (40) and continues play tremendous defense. Gillaspie was a human highlight reel Sunday. He made made three diving stops, getting to his feet each time to throw across the infield for the out. "He's really working hard over there, and he's come a long way since spring training," Paul Konerko said. "Not that he was ever bad, but he's really turning into something special over there." 3. Jose Iglesias, SS-3B, Red Sox.446.494.581, 1 HR, 7 RBI in 74 AB Viewed as the Red Sox's shortstop of the future, Iglesias is now the utilityman of the present after torrid stretch at the plate while filling in for Will Middlebrooks at third base. Since his recall from Triple-A on May 25, Iglesias is 24-for-54 with five doubles, a home run and six RBI. He's currently riding a 12-game hit streak, the longest among AL rookies this season. Middlebrooks returned from the DL on Monday, and the Red Sox weren't about to send a .446 hitter to Pawtucket. Moving forward, Iglesias figures to get some starts at shortstop (especially against left-handers), third base and possibly even a game or two at second. 4. Nate Freiman, 1B, A's.262.330.405, 2 HR, 15 RBI Plucked by the A's off waivers during spring training from the Astros, Freiman is seeing semi-regular action at first base while platooning with Brandon Moss. And he's crushing lefties to the tune of .339.400.532 over 62 at-bats. Freiman, who holds the career home run record at Duke, was named the AL Rookie of the Month for May after hitting .351 (13-for-37) with three doubles, one home run and nine RBI in 14 games. At 6-foot-8, Freiman is among the tallest position players in major league history. With that comes a long swing and a big strike zone. But he doesn't whiff a lot (15 strikeouts in 91 plate appearances), which means he has a good understanding of the strike zone. 5. Cody Allen, RHP, Indians1-0, 2.25 ERA, 36 K, 1.04 WHIP in 28 IP Selected in the 23rd round of the 2011 draft, Allen reached the majors last year and immediately reeled off 12 consecutive scoreless appearances before tiring down the stretch (7.56 ERA in September). This year he's been outstanding in middle relief. Allen is 1-0 with one save and a 1.95 ERA in 25 games. In 27 23 innings, he has allowed 18 hits, walked nine and struck out 36. Opponents are hitting .182 against him. Allen throws a mid-90s fastball with good rise, but his signature pitch is his 85-mph knuckle, or "spike," curveball that often makes batters look silly. "The scout that's responsible for drafting him should get a bonus," manager Terry Francona said.
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