Handing Out the Hardware, Part IV: N.L. Rookie of the Year

Joel KochSenior Analyst ISeptember 9, 2008

We are now halfway done with this series, which saddens me a little. I realize how much fun these series are to write, and how it stinks when they finish because you’re back to writing single articles.

Alas, I digress.

As with the American League Rookie of the Year, the honorable mentions will follow the winner, who just happens to be:


Geovany Soto C, Chicago Cubs

Let’s point out that Soto plays an extremely difficult position—catcher. Your job as a catcher is to call a good game and be good defensively. Anything you provide on offense is just a bonus.

Well, the Cubs hit the jackpot in bonuses. Soto has only committed five errors, but he needs to improve his caught stealing percentage (currently at 27). His offense, though, is what makes him the logical choice for Rookie of the Year.

Soto is hitting .290 for the best team in NL, all the while hitting 21 home runs and driving in 80. He has 133 hits while scoring 61 times. He’s doubled 33 times and even tripled twice. He has a .368 on-base percentage, complemented by a .509 slugging (.877 on-base plus slugging percentage). If he doesn’t win the Rookie of the Year, then the writers of America should all have CT scans.


Honorable Mention

Joey Votto 1B, Cincinnati Reds

Votto has been one of the few bright spots for the Reds in their season. He leads all qualified rookies in batting average (.292) and hits (134).

He also has the fewest strikeouts (88), the second-most doubles (25), and the second-most home runs (19). He’ll certainly be a centerpiece of the Reds for years to come.


Jair Jurrjens RHP, Atlanta Braves

Another bright spot in a horrible season, Jurrjens was acquired in the Edgar Renteria trade from the Detroit Tigers. Boy, are the Tigers regretting that trade.

In 28 games (170 innings), Jurrjens has been nothing short of good. He’s only allowed 170 hits (one per inning), 62 walks (2.7 per inning), 126 strikeouts (1.35 per inning), and has an earned run average of 3.54. All the while, he has recorded a 12-9 record for a team that has won 62 games.


Well, there you have it folks. We have officially “Handed Out the Hardware” for two different awards in both leagues. Onward to the last half, and probably the most important and anticipated, awards: Cy Young and Most Valuable Player.

The American League Cy Young is coming within the next 15 hours, with the National League soon to follow.