November 15th, 2011
Sorry I didn’t get to the Rookie of the Year voting yesterday, but I was on a six-hour flight to Los Angeles. Thought I would have internet, but not so much. GoGo was a no go.
Anyway, let’s recap the ROY voting that took place yesterday.
American League ROY Winner: Jeremy Hellickson
My Preseason Prediction: Mike Moustakas
To win the ROY as a pitcher is one thing, but to win the ROY as a pitcher in the American League East is another. To ask a rookie to pitch quality baseball against the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and even the Toronto Blue Jays is a very tall order. As a matter of fact, no AL East starting pitcher has won the ROY award since Yankees’ LHP Dave Righetti did so back in 1981
But Hellickson is wise beyond his years and has already drawn comparisons to Greg Maddux. Hellickson went 13-10 with a 2.95 ERA, 5.6 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, and had a 35 percent Ground Ball Percentage in 189 innings.
Hellickson is wise beyond his years because he knows how to utilize his secondary pitches — namely his changeup. He threw his changeup 31.7 percent of the time in 2011 and his 16.9 wCH was good for fourth in all of baseball. To mastery of that pitch at such an early age is quite impressive.
At the age of 24, Hellickson figures to be a fixture in the Rays’ rotation for years to come.
National League ROY Winner: Craig Kimbrel
My Preseason Prediction: Freddie Freeman
When I was making my prediction for the NL ROY award back in March, I was all set to put in Kimbrel, but then I read some article that manager Freddi Gonzalez was going to split the save opportunities between Kimbrel and Jonny Venters and that scared me. Whoops.
Freeman was no slouch in 2011, but his teammate had an unbelievable season. Kimbrel had a 2.10 ERA, 14.8 K/9, and led all relievers with a 3.2 WAR. Those numbers would have been even better if he didn’t have a down September.
Despite his September stretch, he’s quickly established himself as one of the top relievers in the game. Kimbrel becomes the first National League closer to win the award since ScotT. Williamson won the award with the Cincinnati Reds in 1999.
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