It's been hard to watch the Mets during this massively disappointing season.
But it's equally hard to turn-away when Francisco Alvarez steps to the plate. The rookie is must-see TV as he flashes a young-catcher power bat that has only been exceeded by the great Johnny Bench.
As Mets fans, we can be forgiven for failing to notice many other rookies. But 2023 is shaping up as an extraordinary year for rookies in the National League. If fact, despite his historic pace, Alvarez would likely be a distant second in Rookie of the Year voting to the four-tool Corbin Carroll out in Arizona. But there's still half a season left so that tale has yet to be fully told.
While there are a number of strong rookie pitchers, let's start with a look at hitters:
Hitters with 100 or more Plate Appearances
- 6 of the 64 National League hitters w/110 wRC+ are rookies.
- 10 of the 79 NL hitters w/at least 1.0 fWAR are rookies.
- 6 of the 55 NLers w/at least 1.5 fWAR are rookies.
- 5 NL rookies are on pace for 4.0 fWAR if they can log 500 PAs.
- Last season only one NL rookie reached at least 4 fWAR either actually or extrapolated to 500 PAs.
2023 Rookie Hitters ranked by wRC+
2023 Rookie Hitters ranked by fWAR
When we turn to pitchers we find another Met among the leaders. Despite the Mets having given Kodai Senga extra rest, his 16 starts are tied for the Mets lead and only trail the big-league leaders by three. He's on pace for 161.1 innings which would have ranked 47th in the bigs last season and been second on 2022's 101-win Mets. But here's a couple of notes on 2023's rookie hurlers.
- At the break, 7 of the 59 NL pitchers with 0.8fWAR or more are rookies.
- 8 of the 39 National league pitchers with a sub 3.50 ERA are rookies.
- Last season, only 3 NL rookies had sub 3.50 ERA's w/70 innings pitched.
- In 2022, only four hurlers w/70ip hit 1.5 fWAR or more.
NL Rookie Pitchers - ranked by ERA (40ip minimum)
NL Rookie Pitchers - ranked by fWAR (40ip minimum)
It's shaping up to be a banner year for NL rookies which kind of sucks for the Mets given we've got legit ROY candidates in Alvarez and Senga. I typically don't care about these type of awards - if a guy has a great season I don't find it more/less enjoyable based on a post-season award but ...
The new CBA rules would award the Mets an extra draft-pick if Francisco Alvarez wins Rookie of the Year.
The Mets would not get that pick if Kodai Senga wins due to a quirk in the eligibility rules. So while I'm pulling for Francisco, I can't root for a Corbin Caroll collapse - the dude is an amazing combination of power and speed. I can only hope Francisco gets so hot post-ASB that he eclipses even CC's MVP caliber season and the Mets get an extra pick. But no matter what the outcome is, there are a ton of exciting young players in the NL this year and that's good for baseball.