Two weeks ago, Bleacher Report's MLB Featured Columnists began releasing the results of our end-of-season awards vote. Over the last fortnight, we've debated our picks for Gold Gloves, Silver Sluggers, Comeback Players, and Rolaids Relief Men of the Year.
Today we begin covering the major awards with the AL Rookie of the Year award. At 2 p.m. EST next Monday, the BBWAA will release their choice for the Junior Circuit's best newbie; until then, you're stuck with ours.
This was the closest race we had, with just one first-place vote separating the top two finishers, and we had a tie for fifth place. The top six finishers are featured here, with the full results at the end.
So read on, see how we did and be sure to let us know what we got wrong!
Featured writer: Lewie Pollis
To me, "Rookie of the Year" doesn’t mean "Most Valuable Rookie"—it’s the newbie who makes the biggest splash upon his ascension to the Majors. Austin Jackson and Neftali Feliz have certainly had solid seasons, but no new arrival in the Junior Circuit can match the incredible talent Carlos Santana displayed this season.
In the 46 games between his call-up and season-ending injury, Santana showed power (six homers, .207 ISO), speed (three stolen bases) and a strong arm (12 runners caught stealing). Then, of course, there’s his unbelievable plate discipline. Did I mention he's a catcher?
All told, he was good for 2.0 WAR in less than a third of a season. He’s not a superstar in the making—he’s already there.
Featured writer: Dan Tylicki
In the year of the rookie, the cream of the crop have risen up. While Jackson and Feliz have a lot of attention in the American League, the real winner is someone who only played 85 games, Danny Valencia.
Valencia was a key piece in the Twins’ road to the playoffs this season, hitting .311 over the course of the season. In roughly 300 plate appearances, he had an .OPS of nearly .800, and his 2.5 WAR was equal to his ROY counterpart, Austin Jackson. With how he picked up the ball on the injury-riddled Twins and ran with it, there’s no question why he’s a potential Rookie of the Year.
Featured writer: Dan Hartel
At 24 years old, Wade Davis was one of the two qualified rookie starters in the American League this season.
He started out like a house afire, winning some important games for the Rays early on, and posted a 3.68 ERA in four starts in the month of April. He ended the season even better then he started, going 1-1 with a 3.38 in five starts and 26.2 total innings in the month of September. He was a key part of the Rays holding off the Yankees down the stretch run, and capturing the AL East division title.
Davis finished with very respectable numbers: a 12-10 record, 4.07 ERA, 113 SO, 1.35 WHIP, all in 29 games through 168.0 innings.
Featured writer: Asher Chancey
He didn’t finish as strongly as he started, and ultimately the Detroit Tigers seemed to fade at the same time Brennan Boesch did, but this rookie showed some promise of things to come.
His 26 doubles and 14 home runs in 133 games show power potential, and his 40 walks would seem to be a solid building block. Boesch will be especially valuable to the Tigers in the future with his defense, where he has shown himself to have plenty of range and a potentially lethal arm with nine outfield assists.
Featured writer: Evan Bruschini
Although the National League Rookie of the Year race is as tight as it’s been in years, in the American League, there is only one clear candidate: Rangers closer Neftali Feliz.
Feliz had a chance to become the third rookie to close out the World Series in the last five years. A major reason Texas made it this far was Feliz’s amazing season, when he set the rookie record for saves.
In fact, a case could be made that the Rangers don’t win the pennant if not for their rookie closer, who saved all 10 of Texas’s wins against the rival Angels.
Featured writer: Jordan Schwartz
While Curtis Granderson experienced somewhat of a resurgence over the final two months of the season, the New York Yankees have to regret trading away Austin Jackson to Detroit last winter.
The Tigers outfielder is the clear-cut choice to win the 2010 American League Rookie of the Year Award because he led all AL first-year players in nearly every offensive category.
Jackson’s .293 average, 103 runs, 181 hits, 34 doubles, 10 triples, 27 steals, .345 on-base percentage and .745 OPS were all tops among AL rookies. So were his 170 strikeouts, which makes Jackson’s .293 average that much more impressive because more than a quarter of his at-bats ended without him putting the ball in play.
The 23-year-old also finished second among his peers with 47 walks and fifth with 41 RBI, despite batting leadoff.
And his defense wasn’t too shabby either. While Jackson committed six errors, his nine assists were fifth among all AL center fielders and his 2.81 range factor was sixth.
1. Austin Jackson, Tigers—104 (12)
2. Neftali Feliz, Rangers—99 (16)
3. Brennan Boesch, Tigers—20 (1)
4. Wade Davis, Rays—10
T5. Carlos Santana, Indians—8 (1)
T5. Danny Valencia, Twins—8
7. Brian Matusz, Orioles—6
8. Jake Arietta, Orioles—5 (1)
9. John Jaso, Rays—4
10. Ryan Kalish, Red Sox—3
11. Chris Sale, White Sox—1
|AL Gold Gloves||October 25|
|NL Gold Gloves||October 26|
|AL Silver Sluggers||October 27|
|NL Silver Sluggers||October 28|
|AL Comeback Player of the Year||November 1|
|NL Comeback Player of the Year||November 2|
|AL Rolaids Relief Man of the Year||November 3|
|NL Rolaids Relief Man of the Year||November 4|
|AL Rookie of the Year||November 8|
|NL Rookie of the Year||November 9|
|AL Manager of the Year||November 10|
|NL Manager of the Year||November 11|
|AL Cy Young||November 15|
|NL Cy Young||November 16|
|AL Most Valuable Player||November 17|
|NL Most Valuable Player||November 18|