Eloy snubbed as Rookie of the Year finalist

Matthew Rago, Editor-in-Chief

An impressive rookie campaign positioned White Sox’ left fielder Eloy Jimenez as an A.L. Rookie of the Year (ROY) favorite heading into the MLB’s award season. Instead, he finished in fourth place after being omitted from the finalist shortlist.

Jimenez, who MLB Pipeline had ranked as the No. 3 overall prospect heading into the 2019 MLB season, finished 2019 hitting .267 with 31 home runs and 78 RBIs. Despite playing in only 75% of the White Sox’ games, Jimenez’s 31 home runs ranks third all-time among White Sox’ rookies. Jimenez’s 31 home runs in 122 games also put him on pace to hit 39 home runs over the course of a full 162-game season.

In lieu of Jimenez, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) opted to select left fielder Yordan Alvarez of the Houston Astros, second baseman Brandon Lowe of the Tampa Bay Rays and starting pitcher John Means of the Baltimore Orioles as its three finalists. While all three of those players enjoyed impressive rookie campaigns, it is hard to objectively argue that Jimenez did not deserve inclusion on the Rookie of the Year finalist ballot.

Outside of Alvarez, whose .313 batting average (BA), 27 home runs and 78 RBIs over 87 games positions him as the clear favorite to win the A.L ROY award, it could be argued that Jimenez outperformed the rest of the field. 

Over 82 games, Lowe hit .270 with 17 home runs and 51 RBIs, earning him his first All-Star selection. However, when Lowe’s statistics are adjusted to mirror Jimenez’s 122 games, Lowe finishes with 22 home runs and 67 RBIs, well below Jimenez in each category.

Means, the Orioles’ lone All-Star representative, started the season blistering hot, entering the All-Star break with a 2.50 ERA. However, Means’ production torpedoed in the second half as his ERA almost doubled from 2.50 in the first half to 4.85 in the second. His performance was further “lowlighted” by his July and August output which saw him pitch to a 5.00-plus ERA in each month. 

In contrast, Jimenez proved capable of making the proper adjustments as the season went on, improving upon his .241 first half average by a full 52 percentage points in the second half (.292). Jimenez’s second half breakout was indicative of a rare talent capable of rapid adaptation to a game known for exploiting the smallest of flaws. 

In other words, Jimenez looks well on his way to superstardom.

While the A.L. ROY award is Alvarez’s to lose, Jimenez deserved to stand among the top-three finalists. If nothing else, it would have been a nice way to conclude a history-making rookie season. Apparently, the BBWAA representatives disagreed.