Michael Pineda, Eric Hosmer, J.P. Arencibia are all having very good seasons for their respective ball clubs and all are rookies to pay attention to, but none of them is the best rookie in the American League.
Right now Michael Pineda is poised to win the AL rookie of the year award, but has he been the best fantasy baseball rookie in the AL in 2011? I don't think so. Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo has quietly been puting up the best season from an AL rookie player in fantasy baseball.
Trumbo leads all MLB rookies with 18 home runs and is third only to Washington's Danny Espinosa and Atlanta's Freddie Freeman in RBIs with 43. His .255 batting average could be better, but he also leads all AL rookies in OPS and SLG percentage.
Trumbo hasn't been the top rookie story line this year, nor has he been the top story line on his own team. The questionable acquisition of Vernon Wells and call-up of 19-year old phenom Mike Trout have taken much of the spotlight in Anaheim as well as the lack of health from Kendrys Morales has overshadowed Trumbo's breakout season. But the injury to Kendrys Morales is what is allowing Trumbo to get this much playing time which is a big reason why the Angels have been catching up to Texas in the AL West.
Last season at triple-A Salt Lake Trumbo blasted 36 home runs and 122 RBIs to go along with a .301 batting average. The Angels knew Trumbo could hit, but were reluctant to give him the starting job knowing Morales would at some point be back in the lineup this season or next. Their gamble has certainly paid off.
Trumbo will certainly be a solid fantasy option going forward in most leagues and is available in almost 16 percent of ESPN leagues and will find himself among the leagues top sleepers for 2012. For another 2012 sleeper, take notice of Scott Sizemore from across the diamond.