Craig Kimbrel, Vance Worley and the National League Rookie of the Year Update
As the 2011 regular season is coming to a close, one of the biggest looming questions is who will take home the NL Rookie of the Year Award.
The National League East has a complete monopoly on the candidates, and there is no doubt that the winner will come from one of the five teams along the East Coast.
Let's take a look at the top four candidates for National League Rookie of the Year.
Craig Kimbrel leads the majors in saves in 2011, having notched 43 thus far.
Additionally, he boasts an incredible 1.55 ERA and strikes out nearly 15 batters per nine innings.
Kimbrel has not allowed a run since June 11, and is an integral part of the Wild Card leading Braves.
The second of three Atlanta Braves on this list, Freeman has been a consistent presence in their lineup all season long.
Freeman has played nearly every game for the Bravos, and leads all NL rookies in batting average, RBI, on-base percentage, hits and doubles.
It goes without saying that Freddie Freeman is the best rookie position player in the league.
So there is a candidate not wearing an Atlanta Braves uniform?
Vance Worley has been dominant for the Phillies this season, posting an 11-1 record, with a tidy 2.85 ERA.
Further, the fact that he is (probably) the 4th best pitcher on Philadelphia's staff is a testament to their overall pitching prowess.
Worley easily takes the cake as best rookie starter in 2011, and I would say that he's a top 10 overall starter in the NL.
Next to Worley, Beachy's numbers are not nearly as impressive, but he ranks as the second best rookie starter in the league nonetheless.
Beachy has been troubled by injuries in 2011, but has posted a 7-2 record with a 3.29 ERA.
He's notched six consecutive starts allowing three earned runs or less, and strikes out upwards of 10 batters per nine innings.
Beachy's importance to the Atlanta Braves staff cannot be overstated.
The choice here is obvious.
Craig Kimbrel has easily been the best closer in baseball in 2011.
In any other season, Worley, Beachy and Freeman would probably be locks, but the Braves' phenom closer shuts the door on the competition.
He has been an absolute work horse for Fredi Gonzalez and company, and makes up one-third of the terrifying Kimbrel, Venters and O'Flaherty bullpen combination.
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