Craig Kimbrel Unanimously Wins NL Rookie of the Year, Freeman Finishes Second

Matt PowersCorrespondent IINovember 14, 2011

Craig Kimbrel was the most dominant rookie in the game this year.
Craig Kimbrel was the most dominant rookie in the game this year.Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

When the Baseball Writers Association handed out the National League Rookie of the Year Award this afternoon, the award was expected to go to one of a pair of Braves, first baseman Freddie Freeman or closer Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel, however, made it very one-sided.

Kimbrel took all 32 first-place votes, which wasn't too surprising after he shattered the MLB rookie record for saves with 46. Kimbrel emerged as one of the elite closers in the game in the matter of one year after posting a 2.10 ERA and 1.04 WHIP while striking out an extremely impressive 127 batters in 77 innings.

Freeman finished second with 70 total votes, far ahead of third-place finisher Vance Worley's 40 votes, after having possibly the best year in the Majors out of all rookie hitters. After some early struggles the 21-year-old rebounded to hit .282 with 21 homers and 76 runs batted in, proving to be a consistent producer in the Braves lineup.

Kimbrel is the first Braves Rookie of the Year winner since Rafael Furcal in 2000 and made this the third consecutive year that a closer has won the award after Neftali Feliz in 2010 and Andrew Bailey in 2009.

Watch out for another article on just how impressive Kimbrel's season really was.