With one week remaining in the 2020 season, it appears Kyle Lewis has taken the lead in the race for American League Rookie of the Year over White Sox outfielder Luis Robert.
Coming into Sunday, Lewis was ranked either first, tied for first or second in every statistical category for offense among AL rookies.
- Hitting (1st, .286 avg.)
- On-base percentage (1st, .380)
- Slugging percentage (1st, .484)
- OPS (1st, .864)
- Runs scored (1st, 35)
- Hits (1st, 52)
- Walks (1st, 29)
- Multi-hit games (1st, 14)
- Times on base (1st, 81)
- Total bases (1st, 88)
- FanGraphs WAR (1st, 1.9)
- Home runs (tied for 1st, 11)
- RBI (2nd, 28)
- Extra-base hits (tied for 2nd, 14)
Robert, the White Sox slugger, has been struggling of late. He came into Sunday with a .235/.294/.464 slash line with 29 runs scored, 42 hits, eight doubles, 11 homers, 30 RBI, eight stolen bases, 15 walks, 64 strikeouts and a 1.6 WAR from Fangraphs.
Lewis went 0 for 4 with a walk in the defeat Sunday, but he made brilliant leaping catch in center in the first inning on a ball hit by Fernando Tatis Jr. His defense has steadily improved all season.
“He’s having a really good year,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said in a video conference. “I absolutely think that he deserves to be rookie of the year. He showed up every day. He does something to help you win every day. And that’s what you’re looking for from all of our guys.”
While Lewis is the favorite, his teammate, Justus Sheffield, should definitely garner second- or third-place votes.
With his victory Saturday night, Sheffield improved to 4-3 with a 3.75 ERA. In nine starts, he’s thrown 50 1/3 innings, striking out 47 with 18 walks and just two homers allowed. Per Fangraphs, his 1.9 WAR is the highest of all rookie pitchers in baseball.
In a bit of a statistical coincidence – and there are so many in baseball – Mariners infielder Ty France came into the game Sunday facing his former team, the San Diego Padres, with some unusually identical hitting numbers for the 2020 season.
Before being traded to the Mariners on Aug. 30 as part of a seven-player deal, France had played in 20 games for San Diego. And since being acquired and passing intake testing for the Mariners, France has played 15 games.
But here is where it gets weird.
In those 20 games with the Padres, France had 61 plate appearances, posting a .309/.377/.491 slash line (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage).
In the 15 games with the Mariners, France has 61 plate appearances with a .309/.377/.491 slash line. In both situations, he has 17 hits in 55 at-bats. He had five walks and a hit-by-pitch with the Padres while he had six walks for the Mariners. France had four doubles, two homers, 10 RBI and 15 strikeouts with San Diego, while he had two doubles, a triple, two homers and seven RBI with the Mariners.
Back to Seattle
The Mariners will actually play games on this homestand at T-Mobile Park, starting Monday with the final home series of the season against the Astros. The three-game series could have postseason implications for second place in the American League West.
The pitching matchups:
- Monday, 6:10 p.m. – Lance McCullers Jr., RHP vs. Marco Gonzales, LHP
- Tuesday, 6:10 p.m. – Framber Valdez, LHP vs. Ljay Newsome, RHP
- Wednesday, 3:40 p.m. – Zack Greinke, RHP vs. Nick Margevicius, LHP