The Rookie of the Year award represents the climax of years of prospect-gazing by baseball fortune tellers everywhere.
We picture high school kids in major league uniforms. We tag them with labels like "The Next Junior" or "Ichiro with Frank Thomas power." Then we follow them through the dream-killing grinder of the minor leagues, where many fall by the wayside.
But, once a year, we recognize the best of the survivors as "Rookie of the Year." Genius fan-scouts can finally pat themselves on the back.
"I told you that Hollandsworth guy was a sure thing from the beginning!"
"I would have bet my life on Geovany Soto."
But, what happens next?
The Rookie of the Year award, unlike the other postseason awards, is not the pinnacle of a player's career. Often the winner is not even among the top 20 players in their league.
An MVP is accepted as a bona fide star, if only for a year. A ROY is accepted as…promising?
Assuming that the ROY award is a checkpoint on the way to greatness, let's take a look at some winners who didn't live up to the hype. These players' initial greatness and subsequent mediocrity lead us to the question: Does winning Rookie of the Year mean anything?
This list factors in a player's post-award stats, injury history and (to a smaller extent) the subsequent success of their team.
I also give a pass to recent winners Chris Coghlan and Geovany Soto, who are already on the road to bust-ville.
If they ever come off the 365-day DL, they may yet live up to their promise.