Who is this year’s most valuable Cardinals rookie?

Nearly 60 games in, it’s obvious the Cardinals wouldn’t have a 33-24 record today without the contributions of two rookies: David Freese and Jaime Garcia. Both are among the stats leaders for the team at their respective positions, as well as for the National League overall, and each is definitely in contention for Rookie of the Year honors.

Last week my friend Roger e-mailed the following suggestion to discuss on the blog: “Which rookie has contributed the most, Freese or Garcia? They’ve both been outstanding. I wouldn’t want to have to choose.” It’s an interesting question, especially since I’m always up for making decisions and offering my opinion. (NOTE: If you have a topic you’d like to consider, feel free to e-mail us, cardsdiamonddiary@gmail.com, or contact us on Twitter, @diamonddiaries.)

Back to the question: which rookie has been most valuable for the 2010 Cardinals? Here’s a closer look at each.
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
David Freese

One of our CDD favorites, here’s a look at what Batman has done this season.

  • Currently tied for fifth in National League batting average with .314.
  • Has the highest batting average for NL rookies as well as the most hits with 60.
  • His 32 RBI are second among NL rookies, behind Jason Heyward’s 39.
  • He was the first Cardinals rookie with 6 RBI in a game since 1925.
  • He’s made many spectacular defensive plays at 3rd base, especially bare-handed pickups.
  • He was National League Player of the Week in early May.
  • And, though not related, I wrote a post a month ago on what a great start he was having and he’s been mentioned many, many times here on CDD.

Jaime Garcia
Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Here’s a look at Jaime.
  • His ERA is 1.47 following last night’s game, second in the major leagues behind, of course, Ubaldo Jimenez.
  • His current record is 5-2, with his 5 wins tied for first among National League rookies.
  • He currently has 55 strikeouts, most for an NL rookie.
  • He’s yet to allow more than 2 earned runs in any of his starts this season.
  • He’s thrown quality starts now in 10 of his last 11 appearances (to update Derrick Goold’s blog from yesterday). The only non-quality start was because he only pitched 5 innings; he didn’t allow any earned runs in that start (May 19 against the Marlins).
  • Also from yesterday’s Birdland blog: Going into last night’s game (61 1/3 innings this season), Jaime had a 1.32 ERA, and according to the Elias Sports Bureau that is the lowest of any NL rookie through his first 10 starts since Fernando Valenzuela had a 1.24 ERA at the same point in his rookie year. In his 11th start, Valenzuela allowed 7 earned runs in 3 1/3 innings and his ERA rose to 1.89. So, Jaime is ahead of that through 11 starts.
  • He’s only given up 2 home runs this season, which is tied with Kyle Lohse for the lead among Cards starters.
  • Jaime also has been featured in this post by Angela, was pitcher of the month in my April and May month-in-review posts and has been mentioned several other times as well.

My Most Valuable
Not to discount anything at all David has done, but Jaime is my choice. His numbers, and his impact, are just that much more impressive to me. And he seems poised beyond his 23 years when he’s pitching, especially when you consider his first starts this season were against Yovani Gallardo, Johan Santana and Tim Lincecum. He’s certainly been fun to watch, although David has as well, and I look forward to seeing their continued success throughout the rest of this season.
So, that’s my opinion. What’s yours? Share your thoughts in the comments.

3 thoughts on “Who is this year’s most valuable Cardinals rookie?

  1. >No love for Jon Jay! The nation's first Chief Justice deserves a place as the Cardinals' fourth outfielder, not a seat on the bench — or in the starting lineup swinging a terrible, swift gavel — in Triple-A.

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