Yankees Mike Tauchman is still a rookie and here’s how
On Friday, MLB released a list of the top rookie hitters and pitchers from each league. On it is 28-year-old Yankees outfielder Mike Tauchman, which confused some on the Internet.
Before you send me a DM on Twitter, exclaiming that Yankees outfielder Mike Tauchman is not a rookie, I implore you to fully digest the letter of the law according to the Major League Baseball rule book.
According to MLB rules, for a player to be eligible for Rookie of the Year honors, there are two stipulations which must be adhered to in any previous season.
The first is that said player must not have exceeded 130 at-bats, or 50 innings pitched in the majors. Second, the player could not have accumulated more than 45 days on an active roster or during the period of the 25-player limit (excluding time spent on the injured list). This means that days on the 40-man roster (when rosters expand, perse) don’t count — even if at-bats do. Confusing, I know. Yet this fact is important to remember.
So let’s dive into Mike Tauchman’s brief history as a big leaguer. Prior to his breakout 2019 campaign, Tauchman was a career minor leaguer in the Rockies organization.
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However, he did get 27 and 32 at-bats, respectively, over the past two seasons with Colorado. Extremely shy of sniffing 130, The Sock Man is safe there.
But what about being on the active roster for 45 days? Well, in 2017, Tauchman played in 31 contests. When you factor in demotions and promotions, he was on the active roster for 11 days between June 27-July 7, then five during August 18-22, and finally 31 days between September 1 and October 1. Add all those days together and you get 47.
But remember what I said earlier, while at-bats count towards rookie status’ in September, games played do not. Therefore, Tauchman’s total was only 16 days on the 25-man roster.
Now let’s run the same exercise for 2018. Tauchman only took the field 21 times for the Rockies. His stints lasted from March 29-April 22 (25 days) and again from June 5-12 (8). It doesn’t take a mathematician to total that out to 33 days.
So we’ve got 16 days in 2017 (Sept still doesn’t count) and 33 days in 2018 — but again, according to MLB, those 49 days aren’t added together to eclipse the 45 days of active roster time (to no longer be considered a rookie).
While Tauchman is deserving to be mentioned with the likes of All-Star Brandon Lowe and Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez, it’ll be interesting to see how much stock the voters put into Tauchman’s contribution to a team that could finish with baseball’s best record. It’s also pretty amazing what he’s doing at 28, after parts of seven long years in the minors.