Next up in prediction week is predicting the American League and National League Rookie of the Year award winners. Over the years we have seen an influx of young talent and 2011 should be no different. It’s always a good sign when you name name 10 guys off the top of your head that can win the ROY in either league.
Winner: Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
Reason Why: This was a real tough call. And to be honest, I was really close to going out on a major limb and pick Emaus. But at the end of the day, while I think Belt is going to have a say in this, Freeman is in the best situation and will be the most consistent throughout the season.
Freeman, who is 21 years old, hit .319/.378/.521 with 18 HR for Triple-A Gwinnett in 2010. His stellar season earned him the No. 43 ranking in Keith Law’s 2011 Top 100 Prospects list. He did have a cup of coffee with the Braves last season and hit an unimpressive .167 in 24 plate appearances.
Freeman will be the Braves’ starting first baseman right off the bat and will have a good team surrounding him. My only concern is that Freeman is penciled in as the No. 8 hitter in the Braves lineup. Asking a rookie to hit in front of the pitcher is a tough task. I would really like it if Freeman hit seventh and Alex Gonzalez hit eighth.
Winner: Mike Moustakas, Kansas City Royals
Reason Why: There is a lot of talent in this group and Hellickson might be the most talented out of all the AL ROY candidates. However, winning the ROY pitching in the AL East is a tall task.
While Moustakas will start the year in the minors, it will be only a matter of time before he is the Royals’ starting third baseman. I don’t think Mike Aviles is going to get in his way.
Moustakas hit .322/.369/.630 with 36 HR in 118 games between Double-A and Triple-A in 2010. He showed the power everyone thought he would eventually develop when he was drafted with the second overall pick in the 2007 June Draft.
He will be called up in May and give Royals fans some hope for the future.
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