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Ranking the ALDS/NLDS Rookies Top to Bottom

It’s been called the year of the pitcher, and amongst rookies in the first round of this year’s playoffs, it has been just that. Of the 18 rookies who have played in the playoffs (Greg Golson not included), seven are hitters, yet only catchers Buster Posey and John Jaso make my top ten in terms of performance. Here’s the list.

1. SP Madison Bumgarner – 6.0IP, 1-0, 5K, 1BB, 2ER
The just-turned 21 year-old will be able to enjoy some adult beverages after the Giants won their first playoff series since the Bonds and Baker days. Bumgarner was up to the difficult task of pitching the clinching game and battled all the way through, allowing only a 2-run home to Brian McCann. Not coincidentally, McCann was the only player the Giants couldn’t get out all series. Not only did Bumgarner win Game 4 for the Giants, but he also allowed for Tim Lincecum to pitch in the NLCS opener against Roy Halladay. At the very least, baseball fans should appreciate Bumgarner for allowing us to see that matchup.

2. SP Wade Davis – 5.0 IP, 1-0, 7K, 3BB, 2ER
Wade Davis matched Bumgarner’s performance and allowed the Rays to stick around in the series for a rematch of Game 1. He got into some trouble in the 6th inning, but who hasn’t Nelson Cruz hit this year?

3. C Buster Posey – .375/.444/.438 1 SB
Posey clearly was the better of the young rookie position players in the NLDS. He had a solid hitting series without hitting the ball out of the ballpark, called a bunch of great games for the pitching staff and was involved in the most controversial play of the series where he ended up scoring the winning run. It’s exciting to have such a good young catcher in the NLCS.

Jonny Venters

4. RP Jonny Venters– 5.1 IP, 7K, 0BB, 0ER
Venters followed up his great regular season campaign with 5 1/3 solid innings in relief for the Braves in a very close series. If only the Braves could hit a little better would these innings have been a bit more consequential.

5. RP Travis Wood – 3.1 IP, 3K, 1BB, 0 ER
Wood came in for the struggling Edinson Volquez in Game 1 for the Reds and shut down the Phillies for a few innings. Unfortunately for Wood and the Reds, Roy Halladay ended up throwing a no-hitter.

6. RP Craig Kimbrel – 4.1 IP, 7K, 1BB, 1ER
Yes, another relief pitcher. Kimbrel had a few strong outings and his earned run was given up after he left by Michael Dunn. He put in 2 strong innings in the Braves 5-4 win in Game 2.

7. C John Jaso – .300/.364/.300 1RBI
Jaso caught games 2 and 3 for the Rays and had a key RBI single in the 8th inning of Game 3 to put the Rays ahead.

8. RP Logan Ondrusek – 2.0IP, 0K, 1BB, 0ER
Ondrusek was yet another reliever who put on a good show in the playoffs. He followed up Travis Wood for the Reds in the Game 1 loss to the Phillies.

9. RP Aroldis Chapman – 1.2 IP, 1K, 0BB, 1 HBP, 3R, 0ER
Chapman impressed in the matchup everyone was waiting for against Ryan Howard, blowing some smoke by the slugger. Unfortunately, he pitched one a little too close to Chase Utley before that, causing the umpire to award him first base. The Reds defense imploded a bit after the Howard strikeout with some bad play out of Scott Rolen at third base and Jay Bruce in right. Chapman could have helped his case by missing a few more bats that inning, but it’s hard to completely blame him for the Game 2 loss. He followed that up nicely with a Game 3 8th inning appearance, but the Reds couldn’t salvage a game in the series.

10. RP Michael Dunn – 1.1IP, 2K, 0BB, 0ER
Dunn had a decent series for the Braves. He came in and provided some nice relief for Tim Hudson, but gave up Craig Kimbrel’s earned run in Game 3 on a soft line drive by Aubrey Huff.

11. RP Neftali Feliz – 1.1 IP, 2K, 3BB, 1ER
Feliz has been a tad shaky in the playoffs. He came in during a low-leverage appearance to secure a win in Game 1, and gave up a home run to Carl Crawford to extend the lead in Game 2.

12. 3B Danny Valencia – .222/.273/.333 2 RBI
Valencia had a few nice hits, but didn’t have a great series as the Twins got swept by New York in quick fashion.

13. 1B Mitch Moreland – .200/.200/.400 1 RBI
Moreland took over for Jorge Cantu at first base for the Rangers starting in Game 2 and smacked a double in Game 3 followed by an RBI double in Game 4 and a late 9th inning double in Game 5.

14. RF Desmond Jennings – .000/.000/.000 1R
Jennings entered Game 3 as a pinch runner and scored from second on a single for the Rays and also went hitless in a couple of at bats in Game 2.

15. RF Domonic Brown – .000/.000/.000 1R
Brown pinch hit for Roy Oswalt in Game 2 and scored a run after grounding into a force out.

16. RF Jason Heyward – .125/.176/.125 8K in 17 PA
Heyward had a dreadful series. He often looked like he was trying to do too much in what many were expecting to be his coming out party. Compared to Chipper Jones’ first postseason appearance, Heyward doesn’t even appear to be on the same planet. His lack of production is a big part of the reason why the Giants are in the NLCS.

17. RP Alexi Ogando – .1IP, 0K, 0BB, 0ER
Ogando only pitched a third of an inning for the Rangers, so it’s hard to be too tough on him. However, he did give up an RBI double to B.J. Upton in the Rangers’ Game 3 6-3 loss.

18. 2B Brooks Conrad – .091/.091/.091 3 errors
While I said that Heyward was a big part of the reason the Giants were able to advance, Conrad is an even bigger reason. He didn’t hit, made mistakes in the field and had to be benched in Game 4. Conrad needs to buy Bobby Cox a beer after that mess.

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