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Big League Stew

Sizing up the 2013 Rookie of the Year finalists

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

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The 2013 Rookie of the Year awards will be handed out Monday, as voted on by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

There are two very different storylines in the American League and National League. The AL is pretty ho-hum. Wil Myers is the favorite to win the award and the competition isn't all that sexy.

Meanwhile, the NL was full of great rookies in 2013. There were at least five other impactful rookies who didn't crack the top three finalists — guys like Hyun-Jin Ryu, Julio Teheran, Evan Gattis, Gerrit Cole and Trevor Rosenthal. But the NL is essentially a two-man race: Yasiel Puig vs. Jose Fernandez. Fernandez, also a Cy Young finalist, has the edge.

Here's a breakdown of the three finalists in each league. The winners will be announced Monday in an MLB Network special that begins at 6 p.m. ET.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

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Chris Archer — SP, Tampa Bay Rays
In brief: Archer, 25, came to the Rays from the Cubs in the Matt Garza trade. He started the year in Triple-A, got called up in June and was the AL Pitcher of the month in July.

Key stats: A 9-7 record with a 3.22 ERA. He pitched 128 innings after a June 1 call-up. In July, he was 4-0 with a 0.73 ERA, including two shutouts.

Case for: At times, he was the best rookie pitcher in the American League. He was great in July.

Case against: His ERA in September and October was 4.78, to go along with 4.40 in June. Frankly, he wasn't the best rookie on his own team.

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Jose Iglesias — SS, Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox
In brief: Iglesias, 23, is a defense-first shortstop who started the season with the Red Sox, but was traded to the Tigers in the three-team deal that sent Jake Peavy to Boston.

Key stats: He hit .303 for the season with a .349 on-base percentage. He ranked 16th among shortstops in UZR with 3.4.

Case for: If you like defense, he's your guy. Iglesias is a masterful shortstop. He has two plays in our "top infield play" poll, both of which were beautiful.

Case against: Not great at the plate. Yes, he hit .303, but only .259 once he'd been traded to Detroit. He drove in 29 runs in 109 games.

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Wil Myers — RF, Tampa Bay Rays
In brief: Myers, 22, was the fourth best prospect of the season heading into 2013. He got called up to the Rays in June after hitting 14 homers in Triple-A.

Key stats: Myers hit .293/.354/.478 in 88 games for Tampa Bay with 13 homers and 53 RBIs. His wRC+ (weighted runs created) was 131, tops among AL rookies.

Case for: Myers was easily the big impact rookie in the AL offensively. His wRC+ wasn't just great for a rookie, it was 33rd overall in all of baseball.

Case against: He played in only 88 games. But that's about the only strike.

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NATIONAL LEAGUE

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Jose Fernandez — SP, Miami Marlins
In brief: Fernandez, 21, was a controversial selection to join the big-league team at the start of the year. He was 20 then and some viewed his place on the roster as a gimmick by the lowly Marlins, but Fernandez was more than ready he proved. He was an All-Star and two-time NL Rookie of the Month.

Key stats: A 12-6 record with a 2.19 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in 172.2 innings. Led all rookies with a 4.2 WAR, according to Fangraphs.

Case for: His 2.19 ERA was the best in baseball from any pitcher not named Clayton Kershaw. He was the highlight on a team that went 62-100.

Case against: There's really not one. He had one of the best seasons ever for a rookie pitcher, ranking with Dwight Gooden and Fernando Valenzuela.

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Shelby Miller SP, St. Louis Cardinals
In brief: The 23-year-old Miller, a former first-round pick, was great in the early parts of this season. He wasn't bad later, but other rookies (including some on his own team) overshadowed him in the second half of the season.

Key stats: A 15-9 record with a 3.06 ERA. Miller pitched 173.1 innings for the Cardinals.

Case for: Miller had a very solid regular season, which included a one-hit shutout in May. He almost didn't seem like a rookie at times.

Case against: Displaced in the Cardinal rookie hype by Michael Wacha and Trevor Rosenthal by season's end. Wasn't as good as Fernandez. Ranked sixth in WAR among rookie pitchers.

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Yasiel Puig — RF, Los Angeles Dodgers
In brief: If this were the most interesting rookie award, Puig would win in a landslide. The 22-year-old caught the attention of baseball and helped turn around the Dodgers season. It was not without controversy, but Puig was must-watch for a few months.

Key stats: Hit .319/.391/.534 with 19 homers and 42 RBIs in 104 games. His WAR was 4.0. He hit .436 in his first month, winning both the NL Rookie of the Month and the NL Player of the Month.

Case for: The Dodgers were 66-38 in games he played. Would they have made the playoffs without him? Maybe. But not certainly. His 44 hits in his first month rank second all-time to Joe DiMaggio.

Case against: Without Fernandez around, this would be Puig's award. The knocks on Puig  — besides being a rookie in the same year as Fernandez — are the usual: He was a little reckless on the base paths and in the outfield. He still had an outstanding rookie season.

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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