The 2010 season is likely to go down as the "Year of the Pitcher," but it could also be adequately labeled the "Year of the Rookie."
Two rookies, Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner, led the San Francisco Giants to an unlikely championship. The much-hyped Jason Heyward made good on his reputation as a five-tool stud, and Stephen Strasburg was brilliant in his brief MLB stint.
Don't forget Ike Davis, Jaime Garcia, Gaby Sanchez, and Starlin Castro—and that's just in the National League.
Yesterday, Bleacher Report's Featured Columnists continued our 16-part series previewing Major League Baseball's end-of-season awards with the results of our AL Rookie of the Year vote. Today, we look at the best newbies in the Senior Circuit.
So read on, see how we did and be sure to let us know what we got wrong!
Featured writer: Robert Knapel
With all of the hype surrounding Jason Heyward, Buster Posey and Mike Stanton, it is very easy to forget about Ike Davis.
Davis was third in doubles ahead of this group of players. Davis was also behind just Mike Stanton and Tyler Colvin when it came to home runs.
Davis' 71 RBI were third in the NL behind Gaby Sanchez’s 85 and Heyward’s 72. Davis was also second in walks to just Heyward. Davis did bat .264 with a .351 on-base percentage and a .440 SLG.
However, what sets Davis apart is his defense. Davis was by far the top defensive first baseman in the NL, with his UZR (10.1) almost doubling that of second-place Adam LaRoche (5.2).
Featured writer: Dennis Schlossman
With a plethora of superstar first basemen already shining throughout the National League, Gaby Sanchez of the Florida Marlins made a statement during his rookie campaign and will soon be among the best as he continues to blossom.
In 2010, Sanchez led all Major League rookies with 37 doubles and 87 RBI, while finishing third in the NL with 19 home runs.
The Miami native was also first among National League rookies with 156 hits. He scored 72 runs as well, which placed him fourth in the Majors among all rookies.
On June 11 against the Tampa Bay Rays, Sanchez had the best game of his young career, going 4-for-5 at the plate with two home runs and six RBI while scoring three runs.
Featured writer: Jordan Schwartz
The race for National League Rookie of the Year was much closer than the competition in the American League, but Jaime Garcia has to be considered thanks to his strong season pitching for the Cardinals.
The left-handed starter not only led all NL first-year hurlers with a 2.70 ERA; he also finished sixth among all big league pitchers in that category, ahead of David Price, Roy Oswalt and Tim Hudson.
Garcia also led all qualifying NL rookies with 13 wins, against just eight losses, and a 1.32 WHIP.
Featured writer: Dmitriy Ioselevich
Jayson Heyward was the most hyped prospect in baseball going into the 2010 season, rated by Baseball America as No. 1 on their annual charts. Heyward lived up to the hype and then some.
How good was he this year? He was named a starter for the NL in the All-Star Game (though he didn’t play because of injuries). His .393 on-base percentage wasn’t just tops among NL rookies—it was fourth-best in the league. His 18 home runs, 72 RBI and 11 steals place him third, second and fourth respectively among rookies.
This year’s NL rookie class is the strongest in recent memory, with only the 2006 class of Ryan Zimmerman, Dan Uggla, Josh Johnson, Matt Cain and Prince Fielder coming close. But Heyward gets the nod here over Buster Posey and Gaby Sanchez for putting the Atlanta Braves on his back and carrying them to the postseason after Chipper Jones went down with an injury.
Featured writer: Evan Aczon
If there was a Most Valuable Rookie award, there’s no question that Buster Posey would win.
Jason Heyward had a cast around him that was more than willing to support the young outfielder, with Chipper Jones, Martin Prado and Brian McCann providing offense throughout the season.
But Buster Posey came in, taking over midseason for one of the best receivers in the game, and ended up batting either cleanup or third in 59 of his 108 games.
His stats were comparable to Heyward’s if you account for the fact that Heyward had the whole season under his belt. It’s rare that a catcher comes out with Posey’s type of production—18 HR and 67 RBI, both good for third on the team. He also batted .305, had an OPS of .862 and only struck out 55 times.
Posey was the Giants' catalyst in July, which garnered him Rookie of the Month honors, hitting .417 with seven HRs and 24 RBI, including a 21-game hitting streak.
His maturity behind the plate and ability to put the bat on the ball made him an instantly integral part of Bruce Bochy’s Giants.
1. Buster Posey, Giants—101 (15)
2. Jason Heyward, Braves—70 (8)
3. Jaime Garcia, Cardinals—27 (2)
4. Gaby Sanchez, Marlins—11
5. Ike Davis, Mets—9
T6. Madison Bumgarner, Giants—5 (1)
T6. Mat Latos, Padres—5 (1)
T8. Starlin Castro, Cubs—3
T8. Stephen Strasburg, Nationals—3
T10. Mike Leake, Reds—1
T10. Jonathon Niese, Mets—1
T10. Mike Stanton, Marlins—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