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With Harper slumping, NL Rookie of the Year is wide open

By Danny Knobler | Baseball Insider
Sometimes it's easy to forget Wade Miley was the other rookie All-Star for the NL. (Getty Images)

A month ago, we didn't ask who were going to be the Rookie of the Year winners.

We only asked: "Mike Trout or Bryce Harper?"

One American Leaguer. One National Leaguer. Two super rookies.

That's still true. Two super rookies. But only one sure-fire Rookie of the Year.

In the month since the All-Star break, Trout's 1.121 OPS is the best in the American League -- and not just for rookies.

In the month since the All-Star break, Harper's .541 OPS is the worst in baseball -- and not just for rookies.

Trout still seems to have a lock on the AL Rookie of the Year award, despite impressive performances by Yoenis Cespedes, Matt Moore and Addison Reed, among others.

And in the National League?

Harper's slump has left it wide open, but there's no Cespedes, Moore or Reed to step in for him. It's so wide open that in the first four months of the season, four different players have won rookie of the month (while Trout has a three-month streak going in the AL).

There are some decent candidates, any of who could win with a strong final eight weeks. Here's a look:

1. Bryce Harper, Nationals. I know, he's had a lousy month. But he with what he did in the first half, a big September could still put him back on top. With the Nationals in the race, he'll get noticed. Of course, he's Bryce Harper, so he'd get noticed, anyway.

2. Wade Miley, Diamondbacks. Does anyone remember that Miley was the other rookie on the NL All-Star team. He's the one who so far hasn't slumped in the second half, with a 2.25 ERA in five starts, with just four walks and 27 strikeouts in 32 innings.

3. Mike Fiers, Brewers. Once the Brewers got done conceding the season and trading Zack Greinke, they started pushing Fiers' candidacy. They have a good case, especially since his 4.42 ERA in 10 Triple-A starts doesn't count against him. In 12 starts for the Brewers, Fiers has a 1.80 ERA. And he just carried a perfect game through six innings against the first-place Reds.

4. Todd Frazier, Reds. He filled in ably for Scott Rolen. He filled in ably for Joey Votto. He's a New Jersey kid, just like Trout. He's not the best rookie from New Jersey. But in the National League, he has a chance.

5. Anthony Rizzo, Cubs. I cringe at the Rizzo worship among Cubs fans, but the guy has hit nine home runs in his first 36 games. The Cubs have 53 games left. If he keeps up that pace, he'll end up with 22 in basically half a season. Make it 25, and he might even get my vote.

Others worth a mention: Yonder Alonso, Padres; Wilin Rosario, Rockies; Lucas Harrell, Astros; Norichika Aoki, Brewers.

 
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