San Francisco Giants: Can Dereck Rodriguez Win Rookie Of The Year?
By Taylor Wirth
San Francisco Giants rookie pitcher Dereck Rodriguez has emerged as a standout rookie in baseball in 2018.
Since being called up, he’s had nothing but success and has maintained consistency all season for the San Francisco Giants.
Sporting an impressive stat line, is Rodriguez a candidate for Rookie Of The Year, and who is he competing against?
Other than being the son of Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, rookie Dereck Rodriguez has never really been in the spotlight so far in his young career. He was never a big name prospect, and after he was converted from an outfielder in 2014, he has yet to establish himself as a pitcher.
Starting off his 2018 campaign strong with Triple-A Sacramento, he got the call in late May and has produced ever since. Through eight starts and fifty three innings pitched, Rodriguez is sporting a 2.72 ERA with a 5-1 record and providing consistency at the back end of the Giants rotation that was looked at as a question mark.
The last Giants rookie to win the coveted Rookie Of The Year award was none other than Buster Posey in 2010. Since then, the award has been awarded to players such as Cody Bellinger (2017), Corey Seager (2016), Kris Bryant (2015), Jacob deGrom (2014), Jose Fernandez (2013), Bryce Harper (2012), Craig Kimbrel (2011).
Since Posey, the award has been awarded to some of the best, most dominant players in all of baseball. Even if Rodriguez is not viewed as a likely candidate at this point, he deserves to be in the conversion.
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For Dereck Rodriguez was to win this honor, he has to out-perform a few of the brightest, young stars in all of baseball.
This season, the National League has seen rookies such as Ronald Acuna, Juan Soto, Carlos Villanueva, Jesse Winker, Jack Flaherty and Walker Buehler. In terms of rookie pitchers go, Rodriguez is near the top, if not the best rookie pitcher this season.
The other rookie pitchers have not exactly been running away with anything. Buehler and Flaherty were two of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball coming into this season.
Buehler started off the season very well but has battled injuries and has struggled as of late. Flaherty has been good this season, but you can make the argument that Dereck Rodriguez has been better.
So in terms of competing against other National League rookies, Rodriguez might just be competing against hitters such as Acuna and Soto.
Ronald Acuna was the top prospect in all of baseball entering the 2018 season and has done pretty well. Slashing .260/.317/.468 with eight homers and 20 RBIs, Acuna has also battled a knee injury that kept him out awhile amid his rookie season.
Juan Soto the other National League rookie for the Washington Nationals arguably has put together the best case for National League Rookie Of The Year. Being called up in mid-May, Soto has proven to be a consistent .300 hitter, while also displaying some power. In only 179 at-bats, Soto has launched 10 homers and driven in 30.
Other rookies such as Miami outfielder Brian Anderson could also be in the mix, but will unlikely put up flashy enough numbers to compete.
Through July, Dereck Rodriguez has more than proven himself. Alongside Andrew Suarez, the two have been a huge shot in the arm for the Giants pitching staff.
With two months of the season left, Rodriguez is not going anywhere, and that should allow him to eat plenty of innings and prove he can earn the title of National League Rookie Of The Year.
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With the rookie pitching competition sort of lacking at this point, Rodriguez has to continue to perform the way he has in order to top rookie sluggers such as Acuna and Soto, and at this point is very much do-able.