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Jaime Garcia: Rookie Of The Year?

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Jaime Garcia's shutout this afternoon likely pushed him ahead of Tim Lincecum, among others, into the top 20 pitchers in the National League according to Baseball-Reference's Wins Above Replacement stat; before it he sat at 2.4, which was good for 23rd in the league. (2.0 is considered average over the course of a full season—in late August, on a rookie's stingy innings limit, 2.4 is quite impressive.)

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But he's not in the Cy Young race—what matters for Jaime Garcia, who more pressingly picked up his 11th win, is his place among National League rookies. Garcia's place atop the list has been in jeopardy over the course of his spotty second half, but today's performance will have put him alone in front again per WAR. (Unfortunately, I don't see a lot of BBWAA members using that as a primary criterion...)

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The next man on the list is a considerably larger name, and the odds-on favorite before other rookies began stealing ESPN time from him. Ranking 35th among National League position players, in a tie for the lead prior to Garcia's outstanding afternoon, is star Braves rookie Jason Heyward, who's hit only one home run in the second half but continues to get on base at a very useful clip. 

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Behind the two of them are late-comers Buster Posey, worth 2.0 in just 73 games thanks to his .344 batting average from the catcher position, and the astoundingly powerful Marlins slugger Mike Stanton, who's hit 14 home runs in 62 games.

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Thus far Garcia is the best-qualified of all candidates for NL Rookie of the Year, but his relatively low wins total and restricted innings count will put a lot of pressure on him to keep his ERA unnaturally low. 

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