The NL Rookie of the Year race is down to two men, and the rest of the league isn’t particularly close. Spencer Strider and Michael Harris have been far and away the two best rookies in the National League, and one of them will become the first Braves rookie since Ronald Acuña in 2018 to win the award… unless another Braves player crashes the party.
I’m kidding, of course… kind of. But according to FanGraphs, Vaughn Grissom, who has only played in six major-league games, is quickly moving up the National League leaderboard when it comes to rookie WAR. He’s already 15th, boasting 0.6 fWAR.
Current National League rookie leaders in fWAR:
1. Spencer Strider ATL 3.3
2. Michael Harris II ATL 2.7
3. Christopher Morel CHC 1.4
4. Brendan Donovan STL 1.4
5. Scott Effross CHC/NYY 1.2
5. Braxton Garrett MIA 1.2
6. 7 tied 1.1
15. Vaughn Grissom 0.6 https://t.co/jfAMMr8q1e
— Outfield Fly Rule (@OFRSports) August 16, 2022
At his current pace, it will only take Grissom 21 more games to catch Michael Harris and 27 to catch Strider. That also assumes those two won’t accrue more WAR before the end of the season, but you get the point.
The Braves very easily could have the three best rookie performers in baseball. Had Grissom been called up a little earlier, maybe he would have a legitimate shot at the award. His performance thus far has been incredibly impressive, and that’s coming from someone who has recently watched Strider and Harris take the league by storm.
The sample size is minuscule, and regression will eventually come, but the Braves seem to have another five-tool player on their hands in Vaughn Grissom. We’ve seen him blast multiple 400+ bombs, steal a base, flash the leather, but what I’ve been most impressed with is his overall approach at the plate. Grissom is hitting .429 so far and has an on-base percentage of .500. He’s patient and willing to take his walks, which is incredibly rare for a player that is only 21-years-old.
Grissom won’t win the award this season. That will go to Michael Harris or Spencer Strider. However, depending on how many games he plays, there is a chance that he qualifies as a rookie next season too. If that happens, I think I have my way too early pick for the 2023 NL Rookie of the Year award.
Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire