10. Felix Hernandez (Seattle Mariners) –
While Felix Hernandez has only made 4 major league starts this year, he’s done enough in those 4 starts to get him recognized as one of the top rookies in the major leagues. He currently has an ERA of 1.24 and dominates his opponents with the ease of a seasoned veteran. Felix Hernandez is only 19 years old and is arguably the best starting pitcher since Mark Prior. Although still very early in Felix’s career, he appears to have a very bright future as a dominant # 1 holder ahead of him.
9. Joey Gathright (Tampa Bay Devil Rays) –
Joey Gathright is one of the fastest players in Major League Baseball. With only 100 at-bats to his name, he can’t be ranked higher, but he has shown promise of being a great starting center-back in the big leagues. He’s hit .286, and he’s already stolen 10 bases. Expect Gathright to challenge the stolen base title over the next several years.
8. Robinson Cano (New York Yankees) –
Robinson Cano did a great job filling in 2nd base for the Yankees this year. He hit .277, but he also played very well defensively at 2nd base. Playing for the New York Yankees is also a tough proposition for any player, let alone a rookie. As the Yankees struggle to qualify for the playoffs, the team has come under more scrutiny than ever before and Cano handled it with as much class as you might expect.
7. Zach Duke (Pittsburgh Pirates) –
Zach Duke has shown to have an incredibly nasty overhanging curve, to accompany a 90 mph heat. At this point, he has an ERA of 1.87, while still going 6-0 to start his big-league career. Duke has also pitched a lot of innings in the miners this year, so the Pirates might try to silence him so he doesn’t burn out. Duke has shown that he is the real deal and that he could be a force in the Pirates’ staff for years to come.
6. Tadahito Iguchi (Chicago White Sox) –
Tadahito hit .280 for the White Sox this year, but his value has been moving runners to the 2nd hole for the White Sox. One of the main reasons the White Sox have been successful this year is that the team played fundamental baseball. Much of their team has been Tadahito, who constantly sacrificed his to the bats for the good of the team. While Tadahito’s stats may not jump out at you, he joined Major League Baseball and was instrumental in a playoff-caliber ball club.
5. Ervin Santana (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) –
Ervin Santana has gone 7-5 with a 4.41 ERA for the Angels this year. Over the year, Ervin has become a better and better pitcher. With the Angels battling for a playoff berth, Ervin has become a key cog in the Angels’ rotation. Santana hasn’t dropped more than 3 innings in her last 7 outings, and with this kind of production you can expect Santana to be in the rotation of Angels for years to come.
4. Joe Blanton (Oakland Athletics) –
Blanton did a great job in his first full season in the major leagues. Blanton was highly touted in the minor leagues and came and did the job for track and field this year. Blanton has a 3.75 ERA this year, but has shown flashes of brilliance and looks to become the # 1 starter the Athletics have been looking for.
3. Willy Taveras (Houston Astros) –
Willy Taveras has had an incredible rookie season for the Astros. He currently beats .301 with 31 stolen bases. He also played an excellent CF and was an Astros roster throughout the season. When he arrives at the base, it is very difficult to prevent him from stealing the 2nd. With Taveras in center field, the Astros have found their first hitter for the present and the future.
2. Gustavo Chacin (Toronto Blue Jays) –
Gustavo had a great season this year for the hapless Blue Jays. His ERA at 3.40, ranks 9th in the American League. Lefties are currently only hitting .198 against him, as he managed to go 11-6 for a losing Blue Jays team. Chacin has proven that he could become a frontline starter in the major leagues in the very near future.
1. Huston Street (Oakland Athletics) –
Huston Street has been absolutely phenomenal for Oakland Athletics this year. When Octavio Dotel came down for athletics, there was a big hole in the role of farmers. Mr. Street arrived and not only performed well, but helped propel Athletics into the playoffs. Street has an ERA of 1.31, 16 stops and a WHIP of 0.92. Street is set to win the AHL Rookie of the Year this year, and with the kind of arm he has, he could be a closer Dominant for many years to come.
Honorable Mentions – Nick Swisher, Andrew Sisco, Bobby Jenks, Scott Kazmir, Chien-Ming Wang, Matt Murton, Lance Niekro, Garrett Atkins, Jeff Francoeur, Chris Duffy, Prince Fielder, Delmon Young