Chicago Cubs

Come To Think Of It...MLB Rookie-Of-The-Year Awards Lacking Suspense

Bob WarjaSenior Writer INovember 10, 2008

There certainly doesn't seem to be much suspense over who is going to win the Rookie awards in the AL or NL, does there? It has been such a foregone conclusion that Geo Soto of the Cubs will win the NL award, and that the Ray's Evan Longoria will take the award in the AL that it feels like it has already happened.

But no, the actual awards will be announced this afternoon, at 2 p.m. ET.

In fact, there is much speculation that Soto could be unanimous. And it's not because there are no other worthy candidates.

Actually, the NL boasts several strong candidates for Rookie-of-the-Year. Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds had a solid rookie campaign, .297/.368/.504, with the most home runs of any candidate in the league.

However, Soto's offensive numbers were almost as strong, and when you combine his stats with the demanding position he plays (catcher), his relative value is much higher. Catching is draining, both physically and mentally. And Soto did a solid job handling the Cubs' pitching staff, preparing well and displaying maturity beyond his years.

Other candidates in the NL include Atlanta starting pitcher Jair Jurriens, who went 13-10 with a respectable 3.68 ERA. Reds outfielder Jay Bruce hit 21 homers. And both Hiroki Kuroda (Dodgers) and John Lannon (Nationals) ended up with sub-4 ERAs, despite posting losing records.

In the American League, Longoria has hit well, played strong defense at third base, and got a ton of publicity via the success the Rays enjoyed this season.

Longoria led all rookies with 27 homers.

Among other hitting contenders in the AL, Alexei Ramirez (White Sox) hit .290 with 21 homers, and 13 stolen bases. His OBP was a paltry .317, however. Jacoby Ellsbury (Red Sox) hit .280 with 50 stolen bases and played excellent defense in center field.

But the closest competition for Longoria may well be Mike Aviles, rookie shortstop from Kansas City. He led all rookies with a .325 batting average.

Among rookie pitchers in the AL, Armando Galarraga (Tigers) went 13-7 with a 3.73 ERA. Nick Blackburn (Twins) won 11 games.

Still, it looks like smooth sailing for both Longoria and Soto, come to think of it.

 

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