As the 2011 season draws to a close, all the playoff teams have staked their claims on postseason berths save the wildcard entries. Both the NL & AL Wildcard races will excitingly come down to the final game of the season – and possibly Game 163 should a one-game playoff be needed. While I was opposed to the wildcard implementation in 1995, I now see that it promotes exciting September baseball and affords the best non-division winner a chance to overcome divisional deficiencies to make the postseason. I do reserve the right to plead with the Commissioner and MLB to refrain from further expanding the wildcard and prevent fixing what isn’t broken.
Individual awards will not be announced until mid-November but they are only predicated upon regular season statistics. In March 2011 I made predictions on this very web portal regarding NL & AL Cy Young, MVP and Rookie of the Year. Now we focus on the back end of those predictions, taking the 2011 season into consideration. Performance has overtaken prognostication as we review the numbers and relative importance of these accomplishments.
Rookie of the Year is probably most difficult to predict because one can never be sure whether or not a young “phenom” will play with the big league club or spend another season toiling in the minors. Often the blue chip prospects split their time shuttling back and forth from AAA to the Majors – or possibly they wind up replacing an injured veteran. In any case, there is nothing more exciting than young talent with potential wreaking havoc on the unsuspecting stage of Major League Baseball.
My picks for Rookie of the Year:
National League – Freddy Freeman – ATL While I did pick Freeman during preseason, he still exceeded expectations in 2011. 21 HR, 76 RBI and a .287 batting average would be a good season for anyone, let alone a first year first baseman.
Honorable mention for Danny Espinosa who put up similar numbers (.239, 21 HR, 66 RBI, 15 SB) for the Washington Nationals. The disparity in batting average clinched it for me but readers may want to volunteer their own criteria.
Dee Gordon (LAD) only played 53 MLB games but still managed a .290 BA and 23 SB. Despite his baseball pedigree (son of former pitcher Tom Gordon), Dee needs more time to prove what he can do. Were his stats extrapolated over 162 games, we’d be looking at 70 SB.
Lucas Duda (.292, 10 HR, 50 RBI in 100 games) was one of the lone bright spots in Queens this season.
American League – Mark Trumbo, LAA The numbers (.254 BA, 29 HR, 87 RBI) speak for themselves but Trumbo’s value to his team is immeasurable.
Mark Trumbo trumped Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer, who put up an amazing season (.297 BA, 19 HR, 77 RBI in 130 games) in relative obscurity (Kansas City is still MLB Siberia).
This race became very crowded with a lot of viable candidates. My preseason pick was JP Arencibia (.221, 23 HR, 78 RBI) who proves that he is a good defender and has ample power but really needs to become a more consistent hitter.
Seattle’s Dustin Ackley surprised no one by getting to the majors quickly and making positive contributions (.280, 6 HR, 36 RBI in 87 games). This guy is becoming what Chase Utley used to be!
Don’t sleep on Eric Thames (.269, 12 HR, 36 RBI) from Toronto or Minnesota’s Ben Revere (34 SB in 115 games).
|NL Rookie of Year||AVG||HR||RBI||SB||G|
|AL Rookie of Year||AVG||HR||RBI||SB||G|
|NL Rookie Pitcher||ERA||W-L||SV||G||IP|
|AL Rookie Pitcher||ERA||W-L||SV||G||IP|
Naturally the awards are not broken down into position players and pitchers. One rookie per league per season. Debate, discussion and suggestions are as always most welcome! Voting ends 11/15/2011
About the Author
Written by Christopher Rowe
Contributing writer Comcast Sports, NY Times contributing stringer 1996-2000, Contributing writer Yahoo Sports (2001 World Series). Contributing writer Newsday Long Island (1992-1994, Jets Training Camp) and Newak Star Ledger. Freelance Copywriter, Editor/Founder Atlantic Times Weekly (1993-2003) fantasy football magazine, produced screenwriter and general humorist. Hofstra University grad, Marist College honorary alum, Salesian; Purveyor of the Value and Valor of Philadelphia Eagles 1960 NFL Championship; Adrent believer that Eagles could have won Super Bowl XV...and Super Bowl XXXIX...plus modern decade of Eagles 5 NFC Championships... Believer in the Broad Street Bullies and the 1983 Sixers... Witness to Philadelphia Phillies World Series championships 1980 & 2008, Suffered Phillies first pro sports team to reach 10,000 losses,witnessed "1980 Cardiac Kids," 1983 "Wheeze Kids," 1993 "Macho Row" and many, many, many not-so-memorable seasons in-between... until the Philadelphia Baseball Renaissance of 21st Century, Five NL East division titles 2007-2011, 3 NLCS appearances 2008-2010, 2 consecutive World Series berths 2008 & 2009. 2008 World Champions of baseball [miss ya Harry and Richie]; "collector" of MLB ballparks (42 stadiums including 15 which are gone); Fantasy Football & Baseball player since 1992. Always a sports fan... Tenui Nec Dimittam Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org