The Dodgers got a huge boost from rookies in 2013, and one was recognized Tuesday as the Baseball Writers Association of America announced the finalists for the National League Rookie of the Year Award. Jose Fernandez of the Marlins is the likely winner of the award, but joining him as a finalist is Yasiel Puig, along with Shelby Miller of the Cardinals.
Puig was a sensation during spring training and after two months of seasoning in Chattanooga he took Major League Baseball by storm in June. Puig hit four home runs in his first five games and had 11 multi-hit games in his first 17 contests. After hitting .436/.467/.713 with seven home runs in 26 games, Puig took home both Rookie of the Month and Player of the Month in June, his first month in the big leagues.
For the final three months of the season Puig had his ups and downs, but still hit .278/.366/.470 with 12 home runs in 78 games, with 32 walks and 77 strikeouts in 325 plate appearances the rest of the way. On the season Puig hit .319/.391/.534 with 19 home runs and 21 doubles in 104 games.
Puig was a must-watch as much for his rookie mistakes as for his incredible plays.
But even if his throws missed the cutoff man more often than not, the positives for Puig far outweighed the negatives in his first season.
Hyun-jin Ryu did not make the top three.
Ryu, with his seven years as a professional in the Korean Baseball Organization, wasn't a normal rookie. He was excellent in his first season in MLB, as the 26-year-old was 14-8 with a 3.00 ERA in 30 starts, with 154 strikeouts and 49 walks in 192 innings.
Ryu was second on the team with 22 quality starts and was eighth in the National League with a quality start in 73% of his starts. He allowed two or fewer runs in 19 of his 30 starts.
Puig and Ryu on Oct. 28 were named to the Baseball America All-Rookie team.
Paco Rodriguez was the other big impact rookie for the Dodgers in 2013. The left-handed pitcher, drafted in the second round in 2012, was 3-4 with two saves and a 2.76 ERA in 76 games, with 63 strikeouts and 19 walks in 54⅓ innings. Left-handed batters hit just .131/.218/.182 (13-for-99) against him.
The Dodgers have won the most Rookie of the Year awards, with 16, but haven't won one since Todd Hollandsworth in 1996.