ln a year that showcased a rather deep rookie class, it would be a disservice to only acknowledge the top rookie of both leagues. Therefore, I bring you my 2008 All-Rookie Team, composed of rookies from both the American and National Leagues.
- SP—Armando Galarraga (Det)—The starting pitcher spot was the most difficult to decide on. The Braves' Jair Jurrjens and Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda were not far behind, but with a 13-7 record and opponents hitting only .226, Galarraga was a notch above the rest. His 13 wins led all rookies, and it's definitely worth noting that he led his team as well, which was more wins than Justin Verlander, Kenny Rodgers, Dontrelle Willis, and Jeremy Bonderman. Also, his 126 strikeouts leads all AL rookies.
- C—Geovanny Soto (ChC)—Maybe the best power-hitting catcher since Mike Piazza, Soto was the first rookie to ever start at catcher for the National League in the All-Star Game. His 23 home runs while hitting .285 were good, but his rookie-leading 86 RBI, 35 two-baggers and 60 extra-base hits make him a favorite to win the NL Rookie of the Year.
- 1B—Joey Votto (Cin)—Coming into spring training, Votto was on a lot of people's short list to be the top NL Rookie. At season's end, he has a shot to be the upset winner. Batting .297 with 24 homers, he's near the top of all the power-hitting statistical categories. With 11 errors at first base, he's pretty good with the glove, but not great.
- 2B—Alexei Ramirez (CWS)—With 21 home runs, "The Cuban Missile" has excellent power for a second basemen. He also holds the major league record for most grand slams in a season by a rookie, and is tied for the big league record with four. The fourth slam came in an 8-2 win over Detroit in the last game of the season to clinch a one-game playoff with the Twins.
- SS—Mike Aviles (KC)—Playing in Kansas City, a lot of people may not have heard of him, but keep the name in the back of your head...because, in a few years, he'll be playing for a contender (any team not named the Royals). Aviles had the highest batting average of any rookie (with at least 145 at bats).
- 3B—Evan Longoria (TB)—Is there a more complete player in this rookie class? Not only did Longoria hit 27 homers in only 122 games (leading all rookies), but he shined defensively, too, consistently making big plays with his glove.
- OF—Jacoby Ellsbury (Bos)—Although it feels like Ellsbury has been around for a while, this was his first full season. He was an essential part of the Red Sox 2007 World Series Championship team and built on that performance this year by hitting .280 and leading all rookies with 98 runs scored and 50 stolen bases.
- OF—Jay Bruce (Cin)—Bruce probably had the hottest start of this rookie class. In his first week after being called up, he already had three home runs, nine singles, three doubles, and six walks while hitting .577 (15-of-26). He cooled off as the season rolled on, but was still a solid contributor for the Reds with a .251 average and 21 homers.
- OF—David Murphy (Tex)—This Texas native must be feeling at home in Arlington because he was leading AL rookies in RBI with 76 when he went on the DL on Aug. 7 and did not return. He finished with 15 home runs, 28 doubles, and a .275 batting average.
- RP—Joey Devine (Oak)—In 45.2 innings pitched, Devine struck out 49 and allowed only three earned runs to give him a major league-leading (minimum 40 innings pitched) 0.59 ERA, en route to a 6-1 record for the A's.
NL Rookie of the Year
Geovany Soto seems to be the clear favorite this year. His numbers are near the top of a lot of categories all while leading a Cubs pitching staff to a division title.
AL Rookie of the Year
In my opinion, Evan Longoria beats out Alexei Ramirez for the award because of his stellar defensive play, making him a mainstay on "Web Gems" on Baseball Tonight. Helping the Rays win the AL Championship probably seals the deal.