Contenders for AL Rookie of the Year Award: Who Will Win?

Monday September 12, 2011



Sam Evans (Intern Candidate- MLB reports):  With the regular season coming to an end, it’s time to start looking at baseball’s awards. The American League Rookie of the Year will definitely not be an easy choice for BBWAA voters. Even though the top candidates are pretty clear, there is still about 20 games left for most teams. This last month is important for candidates to solidify their numbers and argument for the award. Here is my opinion on who should win the award.

Three of the five last winners of the AL ROY award have been pitchers. When choosing who I think deserves the award one of my key requirements is playing time. In my opinion, a mediocre pitcher who pitched the whole season is more impressive than a position player who was only in the majors for half of the season. Also, I don’t think the team of the players record is important enough to be a consideration for voters. This award should be chosen for a player’s impact in the majors, not how hyped up of a prospect he is. So I’ll try to look past the shock value and breakdown some of the candidates.


        Eric Hosmer: Kansas City Royals

Hosmer  made his Royals debut on May 6th and has been the Royals starting first basemen ever since. For the year, Hosmer has batted .286/.334/.462 with 17 HR and 69 RBI’s. He has been the consistent middle of the order bat that the Royals have lacked ever since Carlos Beltran got traded.


        Michael Pineda: Seattle Mariners

When Pineda was named the Mariners fifth starter right before the season started, most Mariners fans didn’t know what to expect. Michael was an American League All-star and has slid into the Mariners #2 starter spot. His numbers have tailed off a little as the season has gone on, but the Mariners still haven’t made the decision to shut him down. He has a 3.72 ERA in 167 innings with 171 strikeouts. That’s more than Jon Lester and Matt Cain. Also as his 3.42 FIP suggests he has actually been better than his ERA suggests. However, he has pitched in a pitcher’s park this year which have probably helped his numbers.


         Ivan Nova: New York Yankees

Nova just barely has eligibility, but he has had a surprisingly solid season as one of the Yankees backend starters. He is 15-4 with a 3.94 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 144 innings. Obviously, the number that stands out is the fifteen wins, which is impressive for any pitcher. Still, with the Yankees offense wins aren’t a great stat to judge performance.  Speaking for myself, I just don’t think his numbers are impressive enough to be the 2011 AL Rookie of the year.


        Jeremy Hellickson: Tampa Bay Rays

Going into the season, there were pretty high expectations set for Hellickson. ESPN fantasy baseball teams were drafting him at an average of 163rd. He definitely has lived up to those assumptions and maybe even exceeded them. He is 12-10 with a 2.96 ERA and 109 strikeouts in 170 IP. Not to mention, he has done this while pitching in the toughest in baseball. He has had a lot of luck this season, as his 4.30 FIP and 4.57 xFIP suggest (courtesy of Also, he has the highest LOB% among all pitchers that have thrown over 100 innings.


Mark Trumbo: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

After the Angels received the news that Kendry Morales would start the year on the disabled list, the Angels first base options looked bleak. Trumbo was the favorite to win the job but wasn’t a very heralded prospect. Baseball America had him as the Angels 9th best prospect. Trumbo not only won the job, but he ran with it. On the season, he is hitting .256 with 26 HR and 80 RBI’s. He leads all rookies in homers, RBI’s, and SLG%( for rookies with more than 300 plate appearances). Not to mention, he has provided an above-average glove at first base. His batting average is not great, and his OBP% is under .300(.295), so he hasn’t been perfect this year. In the end, he has made contributions to his team unlike any other candidate.


         Honorable Mentions: Dustin Ackley, Desmond Jennings,   Jordan Walden.

I think Ackley and Jennings didn’t play enough games to deserve the award, and Walden has been too inconsistent. However, if Jennings were to lead the Rays to an improbable playoff spot, I think he should win the award or receive strong consideration by the voters.


If I had a vote at the end of the day, I would vote for Trumbo- with Pineda, and Hellickson following. There is still plenty of time left, but in my mind Mark Trumbo deserves the 2011 American League Rookie of the year award.




***Today’s feature was prepared by one of our intern candidates, Sam Evans.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Sam on Twitter.***


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Posted on September 12, 2011, in MLB Player Profiles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Being a Jays fan, I wonder how you can leave JP Arencibia out of the conversation. Sure, he won’t win, but he does deserve to be in the discussion. A catcher hitting 22 bombs with 3 weeks to go is pretty impressive. Also handling his pitching staff well. Someone who will get votes but not necessarily win.

  2. personally i think ivan nova has one of the best chances of winning rookie of the year award

  3. Ivan Nova is 16-4 with 3.70 ERA in the toughest pressure cooker in all of baseball. Huge stars have come to the Yankees rotations and literally collapsed under the intense fan pressure, but Nova simply hasn’t lost since early June. AND, his record coincides with the Yankees passing the Red Sox and all the other teams in the AL for the best record in the league.

    At 16-4 I think your intern might want to rephrase that “I just don’t think his numbers are impressive enough…” IN FACT, it is his numbers that are impressive. He is tied for 4th in the league in wins…not among rookies, but IN THE LEAGUE. He earned his 16th win after 27 games, fastest in the entire league. Better still, he is 2nd in the AL in winning percentage, only behind likely Cy Young winner, Justin Verlander. He is the best pitcher on the Yankees (outside of reliever David Robertson) Since the All Star break.

    I think Nova is the runaway candidate for this award because of those very numbers…with all due respect to the other deserving candidates.

  4. Ivan Nova certainly deserves to be ROY. 16-4? Sabathia is in the running for Cy Young (of course he will lose to Verlander), but Ivan Nova was a top pitcher in the entire AL, notwithstanding he is only a rookie. Hellickson has better ERA, but is 12-10. K’s for both are nearly identical. Sure Ivan Nova is with the “Yankees”, and they score runs. But he is still second best pitcher on the Yankees. If runs scored were the deciding factor, Sabathia would have 30 wins. You still have to do enough as a pitcher to WIN games. Nova has done this exceptionally well.

    • Great comment Bill, thank you for sharing! There have been differing opinions on Nova and Hellickson. Some give Nova higher marks for pitching in New York, while others don’t factor his team in. A great deal of his wins though could be allocated to the Yankees great run support. If Hellickson had similar support, he likely owuld have had a greater win total on the season. Both were great pitchers- but looking at their ERAs and overall numbers, in my opinion at least Hellickson looks a cut above. Both will be contenders, but my money is still on the Rays hurler. Thank you for reading the reports!

  5. Why don’t they have Rookie Pitcher of the Year a separate category? I think the rest of the field gets robbed when put in with Pitchers, most of which don’t ever hold a bat in their hand. (with good reason)
    Pitchers are their own entity, that being said; In my opinion there should be a RPOY and a ROY Award.
    Has that ever been considered?

    • Not that I have heard of. But I like this idea quite abit. ROY split: one for hitters and one for pitchers. Some food for thought. I am a tradionalist, but enjoy bringing the game forward. This is one concept that would work. If this is done though, the MVP award will need to be changed to Most Valuable Hitter. While we are on that basis, Cy Young award will eventually change to the Doc Halladay award (once he retires) for top starting pitcher; a separate Rolaids Relief Award should go to top reliever. Break down pitching awards further. That is a lot of changes…but things to think about! Thank you for your comment.

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