Why Andrew Bailey Should Have Ran Away with the AL Rookie of the Year Award

Steven ResnickSenior Writer INovember 19, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 07: Andrew Bailey #40 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Baltimore Orioles at the Oakland Coliseum on June 7, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Andrew Bailey should have been a near-unanimous selection for the American League Rookie of the Year Award. Bailey was by far the best rookie in the American League in 2009, and it's ridiculous that he only got 13 first-place votes out of the 28 votes that were cast.

Elvis Andrus of the Texas Rangers finished second and Rick Porcello of the Detroit Tigers finished third. The Chicago White Sox feel like Gordon Beckham should have been also near the top.

Here's the reason why Bailey won the award: He was consistent throughout the season. He didn't just have one long stretch of doing a great job while struggling otherwise. Throughout the season, Bailey came into a game and shut teams down, and only a couple of times was Bailey ever really hit hard. 

The problem with Andrus and why he never was going to win the award is that offensively he isn't anything special, as he's primarily known for his glove.

Porcello came in third because his numbers of 14-9 were impressive, but his strikeout-to-walk ratio 89 to 52 and 23 home runs were less than stellar. Brett Anderson another A's pitcher won 11 games but had a way better strikeout-to-walk ratio, with 150 Ks to 45 walks, and he gave up 20 homers.

So it's easy to see why Porcello wasn't able to surpass Bailey or Andrus. Yet, I think the most questionable decision was the fact that Beckham didn't make the top three. In my opinion, he should have been No. 2.

In just 105 games, Beckham hit .270 with 14 homers, 63 RBI, 28 doubles, a triple, 102 hits, and 58 runs scored. The reason why those numbers do not surpass Bailey's season is the fact that Beckham played 45 games in the minors is defensively below average.

He appeared in 102 contests at third base and committed 14 errors in those games, for a fielding percentage of .952. Andrus committed 22 errors but had a fielding percentage of .968 because he also played 145 games at shortstop.

As for why Bailey won, like Andrus and Porcello he was up for the entire season. One part that played a role in Bailey winning is the fact that he finished No. 6 in the American League in games finished. The only names on the list that were above him were Fernando Rodney, Joe Nathan, Jonathan Papelbon, Brian Fuentes, and Mariano Rivera.

I would call that pretty good company with Nathan, Papelbon, Fuentes, and Papelbon on the list, considering each one is an All-Star closer.

Another reason why Bailey won is the fact that his success was surprising. Coming into spring training, Bailey was a struggling starter for the A's organization. Yet in spring training he was taught how to throw a cutter and won a job in the bullpen for opening day.

It didn't take long for Bailey to win the closer's role in the season as well; in fact, Bailey didn't give up a run until his seventh game, and that came after 10.1 innings. Part of Bailey's success was his ability to keep hitters off balance, not only with his 96 mph fastball, but if he had a hitter guessing fastball, no matter if it was a two-seamer or four-seamer, Bailey could throw a curveball and just freeze the batter. 

Being a starter for most of his minor league career also benefited Bailey as well because he had the ability to throw more than just one inning, hence why he appeared in 68 games.

Bailey finished the season with a 6-3 record, appeared in 68 games, threw 83.1 innings, struck out 91 while walking 24, and posted an ERA of 1.88 and a WHIP of 0.876. There's no doubt about it, Bailey was the best rookie in the 2009 class.