P Freddy Peralta, Milwaukee
4 starts, 22.2 IP, 1.59 ERA
Peralta has been nearly untouchable in four starts with the Brewers, allowing zero runs in three of those outings. He doesn’t throw exceptionally hard (91.5 mph), but he has already generated 25 strikeouts with his fastball. Overall, he has a 13.9 strikeout rate, which is tops among starting pitchers with at least 20 innings pitched.
Peralta was an unheralded prospect (no. 9 in the Brewers’ system), but his small-sample dominance in the majors thus far might be relatively sustainable. His 1.78 FIP backs up his sterling ERA, as does his 2.66 ERA across three minor league levels from 2017-18.
P Jack Flaherty, St. Louis
11 starts, 61.2 IP, 2.92 ERA
Flaherty has been masterfully consistent this season for the Cards. The 22-year-old righty has allowed one run or less in 7 of his 11 starts, and is yet to surrender more than four earned runs in any outing. He K’s over a batter an inning, and has a top-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio among NL pitchers (min. 60 innings).
He has also flashed top-shelf talent, completing two outings this season with 13 strikeouts, at least seven innings pitched, and just one run allowed. More of those performances will quickly move Flaherty up the Rookie of the Year ladder.
OF Jesse Winker, Cincinnati
70 games, .265/.379/.379
Winker posted a 133 OPS+ for the Reds last season, and just slipped under the rookie cutoff to remain eligible in 2018. He isn’t having quite as good of a campaign this year, but his plate discipline and bat control really stand out. Winker is one of eight major leaguers with more walks than strikeouts this season.
Winker is yet to show quite enough power for a corner outfielder, and his defense has been absolutely abhorrent. Still, his impressive patience at the plate is indicative of a quality big leaguer going forward, and that deserves a mention as one of the best rookies in the National League.
Juan Soto has been tough to watch defensively. Still, his impressive patience and power at the plate are indicative of a perennial All-Star going forward, perhaps beginning this season. He currently sits as the award favorite, although Buehler, Acuna, and a mix of others are hot on his tail.