Here’s almost exactly how the voting’s going to go for American League Rookie of the Year:
1. Carlos Correa – 142 points
2. Francisco Lindor – 92 points
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3. Mystery Rookie
That’s with Correa getting the top spot on 27 of 30 ballots, Lindor on the other three ballots, and a voter here or there thinking one of them should finish third rather than second. But those guys might actually wind up taking every first and second spot, in which case it would be more like 144-96.
Which would hardly be unjustified. Both Correa and Lindor were tremendous rookies. Even though both played in only 99 games, they arguably were among the league’s three best shortstops, along with Xander Bogaerts (who, by the way, is a year older than Lindor and two years older than Correa).
But we know Correa’s going to beat out Lindor for Rookie of the Year. We can just feel it, right? Correa got more attention before he came up, he got more attention after he came up, and he got more attention in October because he was still playing and Lindor wasn’t.
The Rookie of the Year isn’t a "story award" as much as the MVP, but story still matters. And Correa’s story was better.
It’s just not apparent that Correa himself was better than Lindor.
Again, both played in exactly 99 games. There’s certainly a perception that Correa hit better than Lindor, largely because he out-homered Lindor 22-12. But once you’ve park-adjusted their numbers, you find essentially no difference at all: .365 wOBA for Correa, .358 for Lindor. A difference so neglible that in the context of this discussion, it’s meaningless.
Then there’s defense. Correa made a bunch of highlight reels, but all the fielding metrics actually suggest that Correa was merely adequate, while Lindor might have been the best shortstop in the entire league. I mean, to the point where he might start winning Gold Gloves next season and not stop for a while.
Which is why Lindor actually trumps Correa in all the "value" metrics, WAR and the like. And it’s why Lindor will actually pick up a few first-place votes: a few of the voters actually rely on those metrics when filling out award ballots.
Only a few, though. Correa’s going to win, and it’s not going to be nearly as close as it oughtta be. But take heart, Indians fans: You might well have the best rookie in the whole American League. And next year you get him for six months instead of four.