Let’s talk Rookie-of-the-Year. Just like last weeks’ Manager of the Year vote, we here at Fansided also had Rookie-of-the-Year voting. This specifically was close to my heart as a Mariner fan, as I got to see with my own eyes the epicness of Michael Pineda.
The experience it self of having a young rookie come up out of the minor leagues and do what he did was something, as a Mariner fan, I had never experienced before. I have explained it before but there was about a 6 year baseball void for me. In that void I missed out on King Felix accession and the times in which Brandon Morrow proved interesting in 2007.
So while some of you felt like you were watching Indians Jones and the Last Crusade, I was watching Raiders of the Last Ark. Both are great movies, but both completely different experiences. Did I mention I got to watch Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in a movie theater here in Africa? No? Well it was awesome.
All that said I’ve approach this vote with something of rose-colored glasses as they say. It’s not that I in anyway want to have a screwed perspective but it’s impossible to avoid on some level.
I want to say it’s kind of like watching Star Wars now and NOT thinking about how amazing Indian Jones is. It’s not that Star Wars isn’t amazing but it’s impossible for that thought not to creep into your mind. Indiana Jones was wonderful.
I watched Episode 3 on Blu-Ray the other day with a bunch of co-workers. We were broaching the climax of the film –and perhaps the greatest and most epic dual in franchise history and all of a sudden someone brought up Indian Jones. TRUE STORY. Han Solo isn’t even in the movie. Harrison Ford never makes a cameo. But it’s impossible not to think about.
It’s impossible for me think about the possible candidates without coming back to Michael Pineda. I really enjoyed him this year and the experience itself is something I’m going to remember for years. Regardless of whether his affiliation with this organization ends in the off-season or he retires as a Mariner.
The only thing that I could compare it to is Alex Rodriguez in 1996. But he’d been around the major leagues and was even on the 1995 post season roster.
LESSER KNOWN FACT: In 1995, Game 5 of the epic Yankees vs. Mariner series. We all know that Edgar Martinez doubled to score Griffey from first but had Edgar merely recorded an out or maybe a Sacrifice Fly to score Joey Cora from third. It was Alex Rodriguez who was the next batter on deck.
As 12 year-old kids with a seat right behind the Mariners dug-out I can still watch Edgar coming up to bat the place exploding and the thing I remember is Alex coming out of the dug out. I was wondered what was going through his mind.
Anyways…. To the results of the fansided vote, American League RoY here and the National League RoY here. After the jump…(why is it called a jump? Does that mean people that ride motorized carts can’t follow?) I got into my vote and who I voted in my Top-5 of American League Rookie of the Year.
5. Brett Lawrie, 3B – Toronto Blue Jays
Lawrie in my mind was the most epic arrival for just about anyone I’ve ever seen that will never be considered for the Rookie-of-the-Year. The guy A) compiled as much WAR in nearly half the time as Dustin Ackley, B) had a wRC+ of 163 and C) did this with a barely elevated BABIP (.318).
I can’t believe the Brewers gave him up for Shawn Marcum. I can’t believe it. I don’t care if Shawn Marcum goes all Jack Morris in Game 7 of the world series. I can’t believe the Brewers traded away Lawrie for Shawn freakin’ Marcum.
4. Desmond Jennings, OF – Tampa Bay Rays
I’ve seen Desmond Jennings play about a dozen times in person down at AA—Montgomery. Love the guy. Just a really fun guy to watch play base ball. He’s all over the outfield and could throw down in center, in my opinion. I remember joking with my buddies back in 2009 when I saw him. “Well, we now know the Rays have no intention of resigning Crawford.” He laughed but I was actually pretty serious.
While he didn’t “hit” real well the guy works a great count and gets on base. He posted a wOBA of .361 and played solid defense for the last two months of the season. I know people will say that he didn’t play “enough” to warrant being voted for but that’s a shame because he’s going to be a really good player if not an all-star.
3. Eric Hosmer, 1B – Kansas City Royals
The most notable RoY candidate out there, Hosmer certainly showed why he deserved to be a candidate with his hitting tiraid that he ended on in Sept. Though he struggled harshly in June where his wRC+ took a dive to 65 for the month. But he came back strong in July but again dropped to 98 in August, but finishing extremely strong with a 147.
I won’t for a minute say that I really ever questioned or still question his ability to hit. I believe that Hosmer will most likely become one of the premier bats at first base. That said. I have to say he just wasn’t the most EPIC, omgosh, unbelievable rookie playing out this year. He had some really cool moments. But this isn’t about moments. It’s about the entire ride and while Hosmer had an good year and he has a very bright career he wasn’t in my mind the top guy.
Before someone screams and shouts at me for my next two selections I want to review with you why the following candidates were left off the list.
Ivan Nova, RHP – New York Yankees
Nova wasn’t good. He wasn’t bad. But he wasn’t good and people in New York are going to be shouting and jumping up and down –but the fact is he was lucky that he was supported with the cast and line-up he was. I understand how my tone could be perceived a bit raw. I think Nova is an interesting pitcher and I think he has brought some consistency to an otherwise rotation full of commotion, upheaval and bedlam.
Back to being honest, I’m not usually a fan of any pitcher that has a below average k% and doesn’t off set that with a solid ground ball numbers. That said this isn’t all about strike outs and flyballs leading to unsustainable success.
But it is about overall performance and while he had entertaining starts his numbers just don’t WOW me. You can point to ERA and you can point to Wins and I just don’t care. I really don’t. A tRA+ of 99 means you are a barely average league pitcher. This is award is for the BEST not the most average.
If Nova was in Kansas City there is no one would be saying anything about him right now and he certainly wouldn’t be in the running for Rookie of the Year. This is pure New York hype at it’s finest.
Zach Britton, LHP – Baltimore Orioles
Case and point take a look at Zach Britton, who was basically Ivan Nova from the left side this year. How often have you heard his name come up in any type of awards discussion? Zero. Why? Because A) The Orioles suck and B) Britton was merely average. It’s sad to say but its fact. If Britton played for the Red Sox or Yankees the Machine would burn working over time talking about how tough Britton is and how much he worked counts extremely well and his poise and demeanor on the mound are so advanced. He’s a winner.
Cram it up your cram hole.
Jeremy Hellickson, RHP – Tampa Bay Rays
Unfortunately case in point 2.0 Ivan Nova, is Jeremy Hellickson. Hellickson had some no doubt amazing games. His complete game shutout in Tampa versus the Orioles was solid. I really dislike throwing him in with Nova. But here is the deal, he didn’t miss a lot of bats, his xFIP was over 5.00, LOB% over 80% and his tRA+ was 94. It seemed like he just got lucky, time, after time, after time.
I know that Hellickson is the better pitcher long term but to be honest, in my book, Nova performed better this past year.
J.P. Arencibia, C – Toronto Blue Jays
The thing to file away with Arencibia is that this guy hits home runs. He finished in the top-3 leaders of rookies isolated slugging, in front of guys like Carp, Reddick, Hosmer and Jennings. The guy has legit power. If only he wouldn’t strike out 28% of the time. That said he’s going to be an interesting guy to watch going forward. But overall he had a below average year for a hitter and even as a catcher he was maybe average.
Jordan Walden, RHP – LA Angels
Honestly, Walden was a good pitcher this past year for the Angels and I’m in no way disputing that. However, I believe that the Royals Greg Holland was actually better. And I left him off because I just didn’t feel as if he really was one of the top-5 rookies in the AL. It’s simple as that. Was Walden one of the better rookie pitchers? Absolutely. But the consolation prize is the Angels who actually get Walden for another 5 years. That’s cool for them, sucks for us.
2. Dustin Ackley – Seattle Mariners
I get it … I’m being a homer. But take a second and consider that the guy is tied for first among rookie position players in fWAR. He’s a guy that put up plus defense. Then he finished tied for 3rd among all qualifying rookies in wRC+ and finished 1st among rookies who played atleast 81 games (half a season).
I know that I’m everyone thinks that I’m just being homer but Ackley was better than any other position player –short of Brett Lawrie who had an incredible 43 games.
1. Michael Pineda – Seattle Mariners
I’m sorry, Raiders of the Lost Ark was crazy and when you sit back and try to compare it against some of the other movies that came out at that time, nothing compared. Nothing compared. It was just crazy awesome. It’s still good.
Pineda was by far and away the best pitcher among the 2011 class. It’s indisputable. Some metrics would even argue that he had a better season than Felix. Either way Pineda was in the top-10 among AL pitchers. You can call me all the names you want but it’s true. Give me 10 pitchers better than Pineda in the American League. You might make a faint case but it’s flimsy at best.
Pineda is the Rookie-of-the-Year. Whether or not he gets the award and it’s just a tragedy that it’ll go to either Nova or Hellickson.