MLB Playoffs: 5 Best Playoff Performances by Rookies in the Last Decade
As the MLB Division Series in both leagues continue to unfold, I thought that I’d take a look back at some memorable playoff performances by rookies over the last decade.
In several cases, the players are in the playoffs once again this season, though obviously more experienced this time around.
So, in the spirit of the 2012 postseason, here’s a look at the five top performances by a rookie in the past 10 seasons.
5. Neftali Feliz, 2010
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Named the American League Rookie of the Year in 2010, Feliz was lights out during the regular season, posting a 2.73 ERA with 40 saves, a 9.2 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 while appearing in 70 games.
While his command was inconsistent at times, the 22-year-old right-hander still excelled as the Rangers’ closer in the playoffs, saving one game and posting a 1.23 ERA and 11/5 K/BB in 7.1 innings.
4. John Lackey, 2002
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Even though he didn’t debut with the Angels until late June, the 23-year-old rookie helped solidify the team's rotation down the stretch of the season. Making 18 starts that year, the right-hander was 9-4 with a 3.66 ERA in 108.1 innings.
Lackey also served as the team’s big-game pitcher and hottest hand during the postseason, when he went 2-0 with a 2.42 ERA and 17/6 K/BB in 22.1 innings.
3. Miguel Cabrera, 2003
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After helping lead the Marlins to their first postseason berth since winning the World Series in 1997, Cabrera was also a driving force throughout the team's memorable postseason.
As a 20-year-old asked to play both third base and left field, Cabrera batted .265 with six extra-base hits and 12 RBI in 17 games, as they defeated the New York Yankees to claim the organization's second World Series title.
2. Madison Bumgarner, 2010
After posting 3.00 ERA and 2.1 BB/9 over 111 innings during the regular season, Bumgarner emerged as one of the team’s more consistent starters during the postseason.
In what ultimately resulted in a World Series title over the Rangers, the 20-year-old left-hander posted two wins and a 2.18 ERA and 18/5 K/BB in 20.2 innings.
1. Francisco Rodriguez, 2002
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Although he didn’t make his major league debut until Sept. 18 of that season, Rodriguez immediately emerged as a historically dominant, late-inning arm for the Angels.
Appropriately dubbed “K-Rod” after bursting onto the scene, the 20-year-old right-hander posted a 1.29 ERA and 28/5 K/BB in 20.2 innings spanning 10 postseason games.