MLB Rookies Game From WhatIfSports.com image

A Youth Movement in Major League Baseball

Is this the greatest rookie class of all time?

By Michael Schneid, WhatIfSports.com
October 13th, 2010

Months before Stephen Strasburg's name (and elbow) was mentioned in the same sentence as Tommy John, the hype surrounding him and the anticipation of his arrival into Major League Baseball rivaled fans consumption of Fernandomania in the 1980s.

Strasburg set the bar so high for the 2010 rookie class that most casual fans missed out on a handful of first year talent making their mark prior to K-Burg's grand entrance in June.

In the National League, you had the amazing start for Cincinnati Reds' pitcher Mike Leake, Atlanta's Jason Heyward made the All-Star team and Buster Posey helped lead the Giants to the playoffs. In the American League, Detroit's Austin Jackson made possibly the catch of the year and the Rangers' Neftali Feliz was lights out in the closer's role.

Thanks to Whatifsports.com's MLB Dream Teams feature we were able to create a 2010 All-Rookies team, based on the statistical output and notoriety of the players, to face a collection of Rookies of the Year. We drafted ROY award winners over the past 15 years to construct a full roster.

2010 Rookies Roster
Player Position Stats
1 Austin Jackson CF .293 avg, 103 R, 10 3B, 27 SB
2 Jason Heyward RF .272 avg, .393 OBP, 18 HR, 72 RBI
3 Buster Posey C .305 avg, .505 SLG 18 HR, 67 RBI
4 Gaby Sanchez 1B .273 avg, 19 HR, 85 RBI, 37 2B
5 Pedro Alvarez 3B .256 avg, 16 HR, 64 RBI, 119 K
6 Brennan Boesch LF .256 avg, 14 HR, 67 RBI
7 Neil Walker 2B .296 avg, 12 HR, 66 RBI
8 Ian Desmond SS .269 avg, 10 HR, 65 RBI, 17 SB
Starting Pitcher Position Stats
9 Stephen Strasburg SP 5-3, 2.91 ERA, 92 K
Bench
1B Ike Davis, 3B Danny Valencia, OF Mike Stanton, SS Alcides Escobar, OF Tyler Colvin
Pitchers
Wade Davis, Jaime Garcia, Daniel Hudson, Jonny Venters, Hisanori Takahashi, Neftali Feliz, Madison Bumgarner, Mike Leake, John Axford, Drew Storen, Alfredo Simon


Past Rookies of the Year Roster
Player Position Stats
1 Ichiro Suzuki LF .350 avg, 56 SB, 127 R
2 Carlos Beltran CF .293 avg, 22 HR, 108 RBI
3 Ryan Howard 1B .288 avg, 26 HR, 63 RBI
4 Albert Pujols RF .329 avg, 37 HR, 130 RBI
5 Ryan Braun 3B .324 avg, 34 HR, 97 RBI
6 Geovanny Soto C .285 avg, 23 HR, 86 RBI
7 Hanley Ramirez SS .292 avg, 51 SB, 119 R
8 Dustin Pedroia 2B .317 avg, 39 2B, 86 R
Starting Pitcher Position Stats
9 Hideo Nomo SP 13-6, 2.54 ERA, 236 K
Bench
LF Jason Bay, SS Angel Berroa, LF Chris Coghlan, SS Rafael Furcal, LF Ben Grieve, 3B Evan Longoria
Pitchers
Kerry Wood, Dontrelle Willis, Justin Verlander, Jason Jennings, Andrew Bailey, Scott Williamson, Gregg Olson, Huston Street, Todd Worrell, Kazuhiro Sasaki
Austin Jackson Brennan Boesch

Using our MLB simulation engine, we welcome the spirit of the playoffs and created a Best-of-Seven series to determine which team would win: the 2010 All-Rookies or past Rookies of the Year.


Game 1: Rookie Game
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
2010 All-Rookies171Boxscore
Rookies of the Year6100Simulate Game
WP: Hideo Nomo; LP: Stephen Strasburg
Player of the Game: Hideo Nomo - 8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 15 K

Stephen Strasburg had no issues with the Pittsburgh Pirates in his major league debut. He quickly learned in Game 1, this series wasn't going to be a walk in the park.

The kid with a rocket for an arm only lasted 2 2/3 innings giving up three runs before they pulled the plug on him. Hanley Ramirez hit a 2-run bomb in the second inning to push the Rookies of the Year up early. Baltimore's Alfredo Simon would inherit one of Strasburg's runners and allowed him to score to put the Rookies in a 3-0 hole.

Strasburg had a 1.35 K/IP in 2010, the highest in majors for rookie pitchers. Hideo Nomo was not impressed. The former Dodger ROY handcuffed the All-Rookies, going 8 innings, allowing 1 run on 6 hits and struck out 15.

Ichiro and Dustin Pedroia each had an RBI in the 4th inning and an Albert Pujols RBI single in the 7th added insurance the ROY's would not need.

The All-Rookies lone run came in the 7th inning off the bat of Neil Walker, who hit 12 dingers for the Piartes in 2010, a solo shot on this night.

Game 2: Rookie Game
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
2010 All-Rookies370Boxscore
Rookies of the Year5110Simulate Game
WP: Andrew Bailey; LP: Wade Davis; SV: Kazuhro Sasaki
Player of the Game: Hanley Ramirez - 3-4, HR, 2 RBI

Flat Hanley

Hanley Ramirez Ramirez drove in two runs for the ROYs

It didn't take long for the scoreboard to light up in Game 2 as current teammates squared off in the first.

Detroit's Brennan Boesch cracked a 2-out, 2-run single to give the All-Rookies an early lead against current Tiger Justin Verlander.

Verlander lasted only 5 innings.

The ROY's would cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the first when Albert Pujols followed up Ryan Howard's triple with a double, driving in the Phillies' franchise player.

With the ROY's trailing 3-1 in the 3rd, Howard would lead the offensive charge again. A solo dinger in the inning would cut the All-Rookies lead to one and then a fielder's choice in the 5th would tie the game up at 3.

Hanley Ramirez continued to swing a hot bat and gave the ROYs the lead for good with his second home run in as many games.

AL Rookie of the Year from 2009, Andrew Bailey, pitched a hitless 2 1/3 innings and got the win. Former Mariners' closer, Kaz Sasaki got the save.

Game 3: Rookie Game
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Rookies of the Year5110Boxscore
2010 All-Rookies9142Simulate Game
WP: Jaime Garcia; LP: Jason Jennings
Player of the Game: Buster Posey - 3-4, HR, 3B, 3 RBI

Down 2-0 in the series, the Rookies made some lineup changes to help wake up their offense. Alcides Escobar replaced Ian Desmond at SS and batted 8th. Brennan Boesch was bumped up to 5th in the lineup, and Danny Valencia started at 3B replacing Pedro Alvarez.

These changes paid off as the 2010 All-Rookies got their first win of the series, breaking out for nine runs on 14 hits. The Rookies also received a much needed solid seven innings on the mound from Cardinals' pitcher Jaime Garcia.

The Rookies found their power in this game hitting three homeruns - Buster Posey, Brennan Boesch, and Neil Walker (his 2nd of the series) all went deep.

Posey's HR came in the 1st inning and was part of a 3-4, 3 RBI performance for the Giants catcher. Austin Jackson added three hits for the Rookies.

Former ROY, Jason Jennings, got rocked allowing 6 ER on 7 hits in 2 1/3 IP.

This was a much needed win for the 2010 All-Rooks who now trail 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

Game 4: Rookie Game
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Rookies of the Year393Boxscore
2010 All-Rookies461Simulate Game
WP: John Axford; LP: Kazuhiro Sasaki
Player of the Game: Austin Jackson - Game-winning walkoff 2 RBI single

Mike Leake faced Kerry Wood in this pivotal Game 4. The connection between these two is they both debuted with Dusty Baker as their manager. Baker has had to answer a lot of questions about pitch counts throughout his career and perhaps hurt Wood's arm due to overuse in Chicago. He was very cautious with Mike Leake in 2010 keeping his innings and pitches under strict watch.

Austin Jackson

Leake would not get any help in the second thanks to an Alcides Escobar throwing error allowing the ROYs to take the early lead.

The Rookies would come back in the 3rd when Jason Heyward crushed a Kerry Wood fastball to center field allowing Austin Jackson and Alcides Escobar to score giving the 2010 All-Rookies a 2-1 lead.

That lead quickly vanished with a solo homerun by the ROYs Ryan Braun who made up for his two errors in this game.

Later, in the 6th inning, with Ryan Braun on 2nd base, Kerry Wood helped out his own cause with a single to left allowing Braun to score to give them a 3-2 lead.

Leake ended up throwing 90 pitches through 5 1/3 in this game only allowing two earned runs.

The game would remain 3-2 until the 9th inning. Kaz Sasaki came in for the save. Boesch and Valencia went down swinging for two quick outs as the Rookies of the Year seemed poised to take a 3-1 series lead. However, Sasaki would walk Neil Walker and Escobar followed up with a bloop single that advanced the tying run to third base. Pedro Alvarez came in to pinch hit for the pitcher and drew a walk.

Huston Street would come in to replace Sasaki with 2-outs and the bases loaded.

It was Austin Jackson's turn to play hero as he hit a line drive single into center. Walker scored easily from third. Escobar was waved around from second, Ichiro's throw was not in time and the 2010 All-Rookies walk off to victory and even the series at 2-2.

Game 5: Rookie Game
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Rookies of the Year10121Boxscore
2010 All-Rookies7141Simulate Game
WP: Todd Worrell; LP:Alfredo Simon; SV: Kazuhiro Sasaki (2)
Player of the Game: Albert Pujols - 2-3, HR, 4 RBI

After losing two straight, the Rookies of the Year bounced back in a big way scoring 10 runs on 12 hits. Madison Bumgarner started for the 2010 Rookies and was rocked as was Hisinori Takahashi, who took over in the 5th. The two combined for 5 IP, 9 H and 7 R (6 ER). Not a great performance in a crucial Game 5.

On the other side, the Rookies of the Year's pitching staff performed just as poorly. Dontrelle Willis started, but could not get out of the 5th inning either. Their bullpen struggled as well. Tim Worrell gave up a 3-run bomb to the Marlins' Gaby Sanchez in the 8th inning. All three runs were charged to reliever Andrew Bailey. Gaby's homer tied the game at seven.

Orioles closer Alfredo Simon came on in the 9th for the All-Rooks and served up a 3-run dinger to the Brewers' Ryan Braun to hand the ROYs a 10-7 lead.

Kaz Sasaki then entered redeeming himself with a lock down 9th to pick up his second save of the series.

Buster Posey had his second three hit game of the series going 3-6 with 3 RBI. In fact, the top 4 hitters for the 2010 All-Rookies (Jackson, Heyward, Posey, and Sanchez) combined to go 10-19 with 7 RBI. All of which comes in a losing effort.

The Rookies of the Year lead the series 3-2 heading into Game 6.


Game 6: Rookie Game
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
2010 All-Rookies280Boxscore
Rookies of the Year6121Simulate Game
WP: Hideo Nomo (2-0); LP: Daniel Hudson (0-2)
Player of the Game: Hideo Nomo - 7 IP, 4 H, ER, 12 K
Hideo Nomo

When it mattered the most, Hideo Nomo delivered for the Rookies of the Year.

The ROY's received another phenomenal pitching performance from for the Dodgers' ace. Nomo struck out 15 in Game 1 and followed that up with 12 Ks in Game 6.

Stephen Strasburg was a late scratch due to a shoulder injury. Arizona's Daniel Hudson struggled in the spot start situation. He allowed three runs in three innings of work.

Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols each hit a homerun to help out the ROY's offensive cause.

Nomo's stuff was too much for the 2010 Rookies to handle. He was Player of the Game for Game 1 and Game 6 and also earns MVP of the Series.

The Rookies of the Year win the Best of 7 Series 4-2.

Hard to believe all this was accomplished with a talent like Evan Longoria spittin' seeds on the bench.

Make sure you give this match-up a whirl - just click any of the Simulate Game links located inside the box scores.


Ryan Fowler is the Content Manager for Whatifsports.com. He can be reached at rfowler@whatifsports.com.

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