Season 4- AL ROY- JT Cook
ROY Team: Washington
Current Team: Iowa City
Career Stats: 95-67 4.10 ERA
Awards: 2-Time All-Star
JT Cook holds the distinction of being the first pitcher to win ROY and to follow-up the award with an All-Star appearance (2). To win the ROY Cook went 11-4 with a 3.11 ERA.
He spent seasons 4-10 as one of the anchors of Washington’s Staff. Which meant he JT Cook made the post-season every year for that same stretch. During that stretch Cook pitched 82 post-season innings with a 3-5 record and 4.12 ERA
He left Washington as a FA after season 10 to sign with the Iowa City franchise. For his previous success Cook was awarded with a 5 year 42M deal. Thus far into his Iowa City career (1.5 seasons) results have been mixed as his era has been 4.64 over that stretch with a 12-19 record.
At an age of 32, Cook is likely to hit the FA market one more time.
Season 4- NL ROY –Frank Zhang & Scott Polcovich (Tie)
ROY Team: Scranton Scrotums (now Buffalo)
Career Stats: 82HR 410 RBI .286 AVG OPS .754
Awards: All-star & 2-time Gold Glove C
Compared to his ROY colleagues: Cook & Zhang, Polovich definitely had the most “eventful’ career. To tie for NL ROY Polovich’s stat line read 17HR 78 RBI .313 average.
Polovich ended up in Scranton at the beginning of Season 4 as a result of a trade with the St.Louis (now Augusta) franchise. Polovich and Woody Barnes were traded to Scranton. Barnes is the epitome of an average ML pitcher as he has gone 80-80 for his career with a 4.67 ERA. In return St. Louis got Billy O’Neil and Gene Ratcliff. O’Neil was an average C who for his career had 120 HR 354 RBI .303 average, his weakness was low durability. Ratcliff was an average 2b posting 71 HR and 374 RBI with a .308 average thus far in his career. The trade could be summarized as a wash, as all for players involved were solid ML vets but none of them superstars.
Polovich only played his rookie season for Scranton and was traded when the franchise moved to Ottawa. Ottawa (now Buffalo) traded Polovich, Sergio Johnson and Bruce Ryan to Minnesota (now Pawtucket) for Ivan Cannon, Sal Price and Lenny Bailey.
Taking at looking at what Ottawa gave up. Sergio Johnson is a reliever with an up and down career he has made all-star teams but also boosts a career ERA of 4.98. For his careeer he has typically been deployed as a closer and has racked up 181 saves. Bruce Ryan was a power hitting OF who was just leaving his prime, in his career he hit 167 HR 511 RBI .289 AVG with a .908 OPS. He retired after season 8, when he had a cup of coffee with the Louisville Sluggers (19 AB).
In return Minnesota sent back, Ivan Cannon a starting pitching that is currently on the DL for TB and has a career record of 46-58 with a 5.39 career ERA. Sal Price a slightly below average C who now plays for LAA and Lenny Bailey a reasonably good reliever who has pitched 280 ML innings with an ERA of 4.21 and still plays for the Buffalo organization.
Overall Minnesota looks to have won the deal on the difference in talent between Polovich and Price.
Polovich then spent the rest of his career with Minnesota/Pawtucket until he was allowed to leave as a FA after season 11, as of yet he has not caught on with another team. If he decides to retire after the season he will be remembered as an above average C but also as the man that almost stole the ROY from Frank Zhang.
ROY Team: Colorado
Current Team: Colorado
Career Stats: 450 HR 1140 RBI 142 SB .363*AVG 1.245* OPS (*denotes Hunter record)
Awards: Three NL MVPs, 5-Time All-Star & 4 RF Silver Sluggers
Now I know most of you are asking how one of the most prolific hitters in the history of Hunter couldn’t manage to win a ROY outright? Well here’s the story. Zhang’s ROY stats were as follows 20 HR 74 RBI 13 SB .365 AVG w/ 1.193 OPS. When you compared those numbers to Polovich besides the batting average their numbers were eerily similar. Until you dig a little deeper and realize that Polovich took over 500 AB to put his numbers up while Zhang did it in ONLY 208AB and had a stint on the 60 day DL.
I am not sure if voters were impressed or dismissive. I know, I voted for Zhang however I’m sure there were more than a few voters who felt 208 AB wasn’t enough to win ROY.
Zhang has had a stable career playing only in the confines of Coors Field. Which is kind of like a millionaire winning the lottery, did he really need the extra help?
The only thing that seems to be able to slow Zhang down is injury. Thus far in his 7 season ML career he has made four trips to the DL with to of them to the 60 day. At 29 Zhang already holds the NL record for MVP’s at 3. He sits two behind Magglio Javier and Lou Stevenson for the Hunter MVP record (5). At this point given his health concerns I’d put him at 50-50 to break the record but at 90% to tie the record.
Thus far Zhang has been fairly lucky, as none of his ratings have taken a big dip due to his injuries, as he gets older he may not fair so well. All that said Zhang once he retires is likely to hold every major hitting record that Hunter has to offer.