Now that Stephen Strasburg has landed on the disabled list for the second time this season and awaits the official results of an arthrogram of his right arm, likely ending his season, Cardinal rookie pitcher Jaime Garcia has one fewer contestant to battle for Rookie of the Year honors. Despite his consistent success, Garcia has flown under the RoY radar for most of the year due to more ballyhooed names like Jason Heyward and Strasburg soaking up all the media limelight (though Harball recently featured him). But what does reality say? NL rookies by Wins Above Replacement:
Well, who knew that El Gato has the second-most WAR, outside of St. Louis, anyway? We agree with Aaron Schafer, who writes "what I don’t understand is why Garcia isn’t even in the conversation." Schafer goes on to hypothesize that it’s because of Garcia’s low win count, which is a partial explanation, though as we’ve noted, voters have been trending away from emphasis on wins, at least for Cy Young. It’s probably as simple as the media’s knack for self-perpetuating hype.
Garcia takes the mound tonight in Washington, where the Cardinals hope to recover from their wincing extra-inning loss Thursday. It’s too early to start playing for individual trophies, of course, but if the Cardinals do fade, Garcia could be the next Bake McBride, whose Rookie-of-the-Year award was a Pyrrhic victory for a 1974 club that came in second by one and a half games to the Pirates.