Rookie of the Year – Who are your picks?
So awards season is getting ready to get into high gear.
On Monday, November 14, the rookies of the year will be announced. I maintain that at least five rookies from the class of 2010 class would have won in the National League, while the American League featured several solid starting pitchers. Here are my picks:
3. Freddie Freeman (1B, Atlanta Braves)
Freeman had a strong showing in his first season, hitting 21 homers and 32 doubles at just 21 years of age.
2. Danny Espinosa (2B, Washington Nationals)
Espinosa hit just .236 in his first season but delivered 55 extra-base hits – an impressive display of power for a rookie middle infielder.
1. Craig Kimbrel (RP, Atlanta Braves)
I’m not nuts about giving the Rookie of the Year to a closer, but Kimbrel was among the best at his craft in 2011, and there wasn’t exactly a tremendous season from a starter or position player. Kimbrel tied Milwaukee’s John Axford for the National League lead in saves with 46 and struck out an incredible 127 of the 306 batters he faced. Voters tend to cast their ballots for closers in the absence of a dominating season from other rookies; the only question is whether or not his last impression – a blown save on the day’s final season to lose a playoff spot – will tip the balance.
3. Ivan Nova (SP, New York Yankees)
With the Yankees rotation a big question mark, Nova came through for the AL East Champs, going 16-4 with a 3.70 ERA in 165.1 IP
2. Michael Pineda (SP, Seattle Mariners)
Michael Pineda made the all-star team in his first big league season, and finished eighth in the American League in WHIP and second in K/9.
1. Jeremy Hellickson (SP, Tampa Bay Rays)
Looking backwards, the Rookie of the Year is Hellickson’s to lose. In his first full season, the young Ray went 13-10 with a 2.95 ERA, good for eighth best in the American League. He also surrendered just under 7 H/9, good for fourth in the league, and led AL rookies with 189 IP. The question is whether or not he’ll come back to Earth in 2012 – his peripheral statistics suggest that he was far less elite than his sparkling ERA would suggest and that he won’t excel as greatly.
Those are my picks – what are yours?