Friday, August 31, 2018

Handicapper's Guide: Rookie of the Year

Let's turn to the too easy task of breaking down the Rookie of the Year chase. Though the list of winners is rather star-studded, times have changed and this award deserves better than a field limited to SuperDraft picks and the rare Homegrown that signed a pro deal just ahead of their promotion to the first team.

It's beyond silly to disqualify Reggie Cannon (who would lead the race) because he played a whole minute last season, and the same goes for guys that have progressed through youth ranks because they have limited USL experience. Yes, I get that it's a pro league, but these are players moving up to the first team from farm clubs. Set a reasonable minutes cap and open up this category, I say.

But for now, we have ourselves a slim field...

The leader: Real Salt Lake forward Corey Baird (six goals, four assists in 1629 minutes) can go cold with his finishing at times. Nevertheless, he's my top pick at the moment for a very good reason:

Finalist contenders: Chris Mueller (three goals, six assists in 1626 minutes) was anointed as the favorite from the get-go this season, but he now looks like a runner up. He's quick, plays quickly and troubles defenders. I'm not quite sure what his best position is yet. Between the two attackers and Philly defender Mark McKenzie, this category's final three seems pretty well locked down, but there may still be time for RSL wide back Aaron Herrera to sneak past the Union back liner.


Next up: Coach of the Year.

- Greg Seltzer

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