Kirk Nieuwenhuis might be Rookie of the Month?

With one month of Major League Baseball in the books for 2012, it’s soon going to be time to bust out the monthly awards. Over at ESPN New York Adam Rubin discusses Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ chances of being the first Met to win National League Rookie of the Month since Justin Turner was honored in May of 2011.

There’s certainly a strong case to be made for Nieuwenhuis. The Mets lead-off man leads all qualifying NL rookies in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. However, Cincinnati shortstop Zak Cozart has two more runs scored, three more doubles and one more triple than Nieuwenhuis. Matt Carpenter, the corner infielder for St. Louis, leads all NL rookies with 14 RBI despite having 20 less at-bats than Nieuwenhuis.

Of course, the Rookie of the Month is not just an award for batsmen. There are plenty of pitchers eligible as well, but only six NL rookies have pitched more than 10 innings. Of those, only reliever Rafael Dolis of Cincinnati and Arizona swingman Wade Miley have an ERA under four. Dolis has eight walks and only two strikeouts in his 13.2 innings, so Miley appears to be the only realistic candidate, especially because of his recent insertion into the Diamondbacks rotation.

Miley is a talented lefty who has only allowed any runs in one appearance this season. In his two starts, Miley has allowed no runs in 12.1 innings while striking out 13 and walking only three. Overall, he’s got a 3-0 record with a 1.29 ERA and 0.81 WHIP in 21 innings pitched. Those are obviously very strong numbers for any sort of pitcher, so someone will have to decide if Nieuwenhuis’ strong start is more worthy of being honored.

If it was up to me, I’m not sure who I would give the award to. Both Miley and Nieuwenhuis are helped by absurd BABIP numbers, but Nieuwenhuis has played more of a full-time role. Only 12.1 of Miley’s 21 innings have come as a starter, while Nieuwenhuis has been in the lead-off spot for a majority of his 88 plate appearances. I guess I’d have to give it to Kirk. Let’s hope whoever is in charge of this stuff agrees.

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