The 2023 National League Rookie of the Year Award will be a runaway.
Cincinnati Reds infielder Jonathan India fell one vote shy of being named the unanimous choice for the 2021 NL Rookie of the Year Award, but Corbin Carroll will receive every single first-place vote for this year's honor.
However, to leave Spencer Steer outside the Top 3 is utter nonsense. Carroll, Kodai Senga, and James Outman were the top-three vote getters. The Baseball Writers’ Association of America completely whiffed by omitting Steer.
Reds' rookie Spencer Steer was snubbed in favor of James Outman
Sometimes advanced metrics just get in the way. While the game of baseball is built around analytics, there are times when the good ole eye-test should lead the way.
Spencer Steer was never going to win the 2023 NL Rookie of the Year Award; Corbin Carroll had that wrapped up before the All-Star break. But to leave Steer outside the top three vote-getters is almost malpractice on the part of the BBWAA.
Carroll and Kodai Senga deserve top billing, but Steer outplayed James Outman in almost every facet of the game this season. Steer and Outman each had 23 home runs on the season and the Los Angeles Dodgers rookie outpaced Steer by one in the stolen base category.
But Steer had a higher batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS than Outman. Steer had 38 more hits, 21 more doubles, and 16 more RBI. Outman also led all NL rookies in strikeouts (181), swinging and missing almost 50 more times than Steer did in 2023.
Even when you look at the advanced metrics Steer has the advantage. According to FanGraphs, Spencer Steer and James Outman had identical wRC+ (118), but according to Baseball Reference, Steer's 119 OPS+ outpaced Outman's 112 OPS+.
There is one area in which Outman was unquestionably superior, and that was with his glove. Outman committed just two errors on the season while Steer had 10 miscues. Outman was only worth 1 defensive run saved (DRS) according to Fielding Bible, but Steer's -5 DRS was a glaring weakness.
That said, common sense and logic should take every BBWAA voter and shake them awake when they realize that Steer was playing out of position almost all season and logged innings at five different positions.
Had Matt McLain been healthy for the final month of the season, the 23-year-old could have laid claim to his spot among the top three vote-getters as well. But it's an utter embarrassment that Spencer Steer was snubbed and not named among the NL Rookie of the Year finalist.