Who should win the NL Rookie of the Year?


Who should win the NL Rookie of the Year?

We've already seen some MLB postseason awards, but the biggest accolades kick off this week.

The Rookie of the Year for each respective league will be announced Monday night.

The finalists, as already announced by the league, are Washington's Bryce Harper, Arizona's Wade Miley and Cincinnati's Todd Frazier.

Harper took the world by storm when he was called up at the end of April. He didn't put up other-worldly stats like Mike Trout, his counterpart in the AL, but Harper had arguably the best season ever for a 19-year-old.

The Nationals' super rookie hit .270 with a .817 OPS, 98 runs, 22 homers, 59 RBI and 18 steals in 597 plate appearances over 139 games. He ran hard on the bases, played hard in the field, and swung hard at the plate, netting a 5.0 WAR (according to BaseballReference's metric).

Miley, 26, got a taste of big-league action last season, starting seven games for the Diamondbacks. The southpaw appeared in 32 games in 2012 (including 29 starts) and compiled a 16-11 record with a 3.33 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 194.2 innings. Miley struck out 6.7 batters per nine innings and boasted a fantastic 3.89 KBB ratio while putting up a 3.2 WAR

Frazier, 26, also saw some time in the majors last season, with 121 plate appearances over 41 games. The big right-hander spent most if his time at third base for the Reds this year, but also started 36 games at first base in Joey Votto's absence and even made a few appearances in the outfield. He slugged 19 homers and drove in 67 in 465 plate appearances with a .273 average and .829 OPS, good for a 1.9 WAR.

Harper and Miley were both named to the NL All-Star team, while Frazier missed out. Given the hype surrounding Harper and the fact he is a full six years younger than both of the other challengers, the Nationals' phenom will likely take home the award Monday night.

All three are good choices, as both Harper and Frazier helped lead their team to the playoffs while Miley was Arizona's most consistent starter, but I think one more player should have been added to the finalists.

Milwaukee signed Norichika Aoki away from Japan this winter and the 30-year-old outfielder forced his way into the starting lineup as the season progressed. Aoki hit .288.355.433 with 37 doubles, 10 homers, 81 runs and 30 steals in 151 games. As the Brewers made a push for the playoffs in the season's final month, Aoki keyed the charge with an .898 OPS in September, adding seven steals, 21 runs, 18 RBI and 18 extra-base hits.

Aoki also played a very solid outfield and sported a 3.3 WAR, second only to Harper among NL rookies. There are some out there that believe foreign players should not be eligible for Rookie of the Year awards, and it's a valid point, but the adjustment from Japan to MLB is arguably just as hard as going from Double-A or Triple-A to the big leagues.

Aoki won't usurp any of the three candidates, but he should at least have been in the consideration.

MLB will announce the Manager of the Year Tuesday night, Cy Young winners Wednesday night and the MVP of each league Thursday evening.

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Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks battle Bruins tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks battle Bruins tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Boston Bruins tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Scott Darling gets the nod.

Joel Quenneville is giving a struggling Corey Crawford a breather tonight, electing to go with Darling in the final game of the father's road trip. Darling is 11-4-2 with a 2.34 goals against average, .924 save percentage and one shutout in 20 games this season. His numbers aren't as great on the road, where he is 4-2-1 with a 2.83 GAA and .901 save percentage compared to a 7-2-1 record with a 1.98 GAA and .928 save percentage at home, but he fared well against Boston last season. The Lemont native stopped 42 of 46 shots, good for a .913 save percentage, in a 6-4 win at the United Center last April.

2. The Panarin-Anisimov-Kane line.

The Blackhawks' trio of Artem Anisimov, Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin had a rare zero points in Tuesday's 6-4 win over Colorado, but don't expect to see that again. In fact, it could be the opposite. In their last meeting against the Bruins, a 6-4 win on April 3 during the 2015-16 season, they combined for 11 points (five goals, six assists), highlighted by a Kane hat trick that put him at 100 points on the season for the first time in his career. 

3. How the rookies build off a monsterous game.

In arguably the most well-rounded victory of the season Tuesday in Colorado, the Blackhawks had three rookies that had multi-point efforts. Vinnie Hinostroza had two goals, including the game winner. Tanner Kero had two goals and one assist, while Nick Schmaltz also had a goal and an assist. It was the top-six that was doing the heavy lifting earlier in the season, now the bottom-six is slowly starting to contribute on a consistent basis. The Blackhawks will be in great shape if they can confidently roll four lines that have the potential to find the back of the net on any given shift.

4. Patrice Bergeron vs. Jonathan Toews.

Two of the best two-way centers in the league will go head-to-head, and it's always a fun matchup to watch. Bergeron leads the league with 597 faceoff wins, and is ranked fifth with a 58.4 percentage at the dot while Toews ranks eighth in wins with 473 — despite missing nine games with a back injury — and sits at sixth with a 57.5 percentage. Both of the perennial Selke Trophy candidates have struggled offensively this season, with Bergeron recording only 21 points in 45 games and Toews with 22 points in 38 contests. Bergeron has been heating up as of late, though, scoring three goals and six assists in his last eight games. Bergeron also leads the league in possession numbers, with the Bruins controlling 61.9 percent of the even-strength shot attempts when he's on the ice.

5. Brad Marchand.

In September, Marchand inked an eight-year, $49 million deal and it's already paying dividends for the Bruins. He has 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in his last eight games, and 45 points total, which is by far the most on his team and tied for sixth in the NHL. He's 16 points away from tying his career high of 61 set last season, with a little less than half the year to go. He's also had great success against the Blackhawks. In his last six games against Chicago, dating back to the 2013-14 campaign, he has registered at least a point in all of them, scoring four goals and adding five assists. To make life more difficult, he's a player that enjoys getting under people's skin, so expect him to be a big factor tonight.

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