Yesterday we took a look at #’s 5-10 of the top rookies in 2007. Today we will take a look at who I believe are the top 5. 2007 has the potential to have an incredible crop of rookies. With three power hitting third baseman, two Japanese imports, and a man that has potential to have one of the best rookie years ever, this year’s group is in line to be something special. I will bring you a two part series ranking who I think are the top 10 rookies that will make the biggest impacts for their respective teams and will have the best chance to take home the 2007 Rookie of the Year Award. We’re starting at number ten and moving towards number one (For Part I, click here). So on to part two:
5. Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP, Red Sox: Now I’m not a huge fan of players coming from other leagues (such as Japan) and being classified as a “rookie” but since I don’t make the rules, we’ll have to call Matsuzaka a rookie. It’s hard to really know how the transition will go for the 26 year old, but what we do know is that he had some pretty dominant stuff in his eight year career in Japan. From what I’ve seen from scouting reports, many are saying that his first year will be similar to Hideo Nomo’s first season in the big leagues. Red Sox fans would be very happy with that. I can see him winning about 15 games with an ERA somewhere around 4.00.
4. Chris B. Young, CF, Diamondbacks: Now a lot of people will disagree with me putting this kid as high as I have (especially over Matsuzaka), but I am really excited about what he can do. The 23 year old has the inside track to be the Diamondbacks’ opening day centerfielder and leadoff hitter. His lethal combination of power and speed should give him a shot at being a 20 homer, 30 stolen base guy which would go along way in the rebuilding in Arizona.
3. Matt Garza, SP, Twins: All Garza did in 2006 was have success on four different levels going from A ball to the majors. Garza was also named the USA Today Minor League Player of the Year and he didn’t even spend the whole year in the minors. I had the pleasure of watching this power pitcher in just about every one of his outings last season and saw that he does have the potential to be a number 2 starter for the Twins this season. Garza’s tendency to nibble and at time over power hitters were his only noticible weaknesses. This can easily be corrected now that he can work a little closer with coaches during spring training. Look for Garza to make a huge step forward and potentially win 16-17 games.
2. Delmon Young, RF, Devil Rays: This former No. 1 overall pick in 2003 showed that he is ready for the big time when he had his brief 30 game stint during September call-ups last season. Young has the ability to put up some incredible numbers in his first full season in 2007. The Devil Rays have monster to insert in the middle of their lineup and some pretty good hitters around him. Look for Young to hit about .285, 30-35 homers, and drive in around 90+ runs.
1. Alex Gordon, 3B, Royals: Due to Mark Teahen‘s very strong second half of the year, Gordon never got a chance to show what he has at the Major League level. But considering the Royals’ lack of talent on their roster, you can only hold this kid down for so long. There is talk of possibly moving Teahen to the outfield to make room for Gordon who could show some numbers in the neighborhood of 20+ homers and perhaps 80-85 RBI.