The battle for National League Rookie of the Year seemed all but over about two months ago. The Arizona Diamondbacks were atop the NL West and Corbin Carroll was even getting NL MVP consideration.
But the baseball season is a long one, and Carroll has company. In fact, one could make the case that at least two first-year Reds players may even knock him off his perch as the league's best rookie.
While Elly De La Cruz seems to get the headlines, both Matt McLain and Spencer Steer have played exceeding well during their first year in the big leagues. Will either players challenge Carroll for the NL Rookie of the Year Award?
Reds rookies Matt McLain, Spencer Steer are chasing Corbin Carroll for NL ROY.
Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll has been amazing this season. Carroll leads all National League rookies in home runs (21), runs scored (83), slugging percentage (.509), and stolen bases (36). Among qualified rookies, Carroll leads the way with 4.0 fWAR.
But the Cincinnati Reds have two rookies who are at or near the top in several categories as well. Spencer Steer leads all rookies in hits (116), doubles (27), and walks (48).
Steer is just behind Carroll and fellow rookie Francisco Alvarez with 18 round trippers. He also ranks second in batting average, third in on-base percentage, and fifth in slugging percentage. Steer has also proven to be an incredibly versatile defender and has seen time at nearly every infield spot as well as left field.
Matt McLain has been equally impressive, and has done so in about 40 fewer games than both Corbin Carroll and Spencer Steer. McLain leads all rookies in batting average (.297), on-base percentage (.361), and OPS (.866), while ranking among the Top 5 in hits, runs scored, doubles, triples, and slugging percentage.
With Arizona Diamondbacks falling out of contention in the race for the postseason and the Cincinnati Reds still with their heads above water, both Steer and McLain may receive some more adulation down the stretch that may lead to more votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Yes, Elly De La Cruz may be he fastest man in the game and has next-level power, but Spencer Steer and Matt McLain have had more consistent performances this season and could sneak ahead of Corbin Carroll down the stretch.