Top 5 Candidates for 2013 NL Rookie of the Year Award

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Who's Going to Win the NL Rookie of the Year Award?

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Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

2013 was an unbelievably exciting season for young players in the National League. From Matt Harvey starting the All-Star Game, to Yasiel Puig creating Puig mania throughout America, to Michael Wacha throwing two near no-hitters and dominating the postseason, the year has been filled with plenty of memorable moments from young players.

Harvey pitched just a little bit too much in 2012 to qualify for the Rookie of the Year Award, and Wacha's made his mark mostly in the playoffs, so Puig seems to be the runaway favorite to win the award. While Puig certainly stands the best chance because of both his national exposure and the superior stat line he delivered, there are several other dark horse candidates who could end up running away with the award.

For example, Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins was absolutely fantastic during his rookie season, which is all the more impressive when you consider that he had never pitched above Class-A prior to this year. Also, Puig's teammate, Korean rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu, was arguably the second-best lefty in the majors this year, following only his rotation-mate Clayton Kershaw, who almost surely will the NL Cy Young Award.

There's a bias that exists against Puig because of his perceived negative attitude, as well as his boisterous style of play and lack of etiquette. Since the award is voted on by the very opinionated Baseball Writers Association of America, it makes it more likely that Puig could end up losing the award.

With that said, here are the five best candidates for the NL Rookie of the Year Award.

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5. Scooter Gennett, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers

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Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Gennett barely got talked about by the national media since he came up on June 3 when the Brewers were basically out of playoff contention. However, he made the most of the opportunity that he got, hitting .324 with 11 doubles, two triples, and six homers over 213 at-bats. He was the second-most effective rookie hitter besides Puig, and he'll probably garner some votes for the award.

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4. Kevin Siegrist, LHP, St. Louis Cardinals

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Siegrist really deserves to be higher up this list, since he delivered one of the most dominant relief-pitching performances ever, giving up just 17 hits, 18 walks, and two earned runs over 39.2 innings. The lefty struck out 50 batters, and he was equally effective against left-handed and right-handed hitters. He'll undoubtedly be discriminated against because he's a middle reliever, but he'll certainly get votes because he was so good.

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3. Hyun-Jin Ryu, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

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Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Ryu definitely made the Dodgers feel comfortable about giving him a six-year, $36-million contract this past offseason. He was one of the most effective left-handed starters in the majors, tallying a 3.00 ERA over 30 starts. Though it's technically outside the lines of judgement for the award, Ryu did nothing to hurt himself by throwing seven shutout innings in the NLCS.

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2. Jose Fernandez, RHP, Miami Marlins

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

If anyone realistically is going to steal the Rookie of the Year Award away from Puig, it probably will be Fernandez. In 172.5 innings, Fernandez gave up just 42 earned runs while striking out 187 batters and holding opponents to a .182 average. Fernandez gave the Miami Marlins someone exciting to build around, and his success may just be enough to win him the award.

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1. Yasiel Puig, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

As great as some of the other players on this list were, it really would be an upset if Puig did not win the award. He came up on June 3 and proceeded to put the Dodgers right back into playoff contention by hitting .391 with eight homers and 19 RBI in his 151 at-bats prior to the All-Star break. While his numbers tailed off a bit as the season went on, he still finished with some pretty spectacular stats, as he had a .319 average, 19 home runs, and 42 RBI over 382 total at-bats. While he's hated by some for his bat-flipping antics and lack of knowledge about baseball etiquette, Puig was the driving force behind the Dodgers winning the NL West and should be rewarded for his efforts.

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