Earlier this week, it was announced that Andrew Bailey is the AL rookie of the year, as voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and avid readers of Moneyball by Michael Lewis.
Bailey becomes the first AL reliever to win the award since former A’s closer Huston Street took home the award in 2005. Does Bailey deserve the award? Well, he certainly had the most impressive numbers. Bailey held hitters to 17 runs through 83.1 innings (1.83 ERA). Batters only hit .173 against him, and his WHIP was .88 (those numbers are well below the MLB averages OPP BA. -.263, WHIP – 1.39).
If we accept that Bailey deserves the award, we’re left with the question, should we as fans care? We all want our young players to be recognized as being the best in the game, but if one thinks about what the Rookie-of-the-Year award is saying, it’s not saying who the BEST rookie is in terms of talent, it’s saying who had the best statistics this past season as a rookie.
Even as MLB awards go, this award seems to be especially pointless. Sure the Gold Glove awards inexplicably take into account how good of a hitter the player is even though the award claims to pick the best fielders.
Also, let’s not forget the Silver Slugger awards routinely go to bigger names instead of the best batters, but the ROY award pushes the envelope for meaningless.
What is so special about a player in his first major league season? It’s one thing for NFL players who don’t play in a developmental league before they make their professional debut. But MLB players almost always have some minor league seasoning before coming up to the big leagues.
Why not have an award for players in their second or third big league seasons? Heck, I'd be willing to vote on which player had the most surprising season. We could call it, the "You're going to be tested" award, sponsored by BALCO.
So to Andrew Bailey, congratulations on the award. But to Gordon Beckham, Elvis Andrus, and Rick Porcello, congratulations on likely having far better Major League careers.
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