Posts Tagged ‘Rookie of the Year’

2018 Rookies of the Year

November 13, 2018

Ronald Acuna

The Major League Baseball postseason awards are currently being announced. They started with the rookies and the 2018 Rookie of the Year for the National League is Ronald Acuna with Juan Soto finishing second and Walker Buehler finishing third. For the American League, the winner is Shohei Ohtani with Miguel Andujar second and Gleyber Torres third.

Shohei Ohtani

For what it’s worth, I have no particular problem with the choices but I also think this wasn’t just a great year for rookies. Otani was probably the easier choice, after all he’s being compared to Babe Ruth as a hitter/pitcher combination (he probably isn’t). What I find more interesting is that when the nominees were announced, they were listed in the order they finished. If that holds true, I can predict Christian Yelich and Mookie Betts and MVPs and Jacob DeGrom and Corey Kluber as Cy Young winners. I’m thinking about getting down a quick bet.

Anyway, congratulations to both players and here’s hoping both have long and distinguished careers.

2013 Awards: Rookies

October 7, 2013
Wil Myers, Tampa Bay

Wil Myers, Tampa Bay

This is  second look at the upcoming postseason awards. This time I want to weigh in on Rookie of the Year. Same format as with the previous post on managers.

AL: I think Wil Myers at Tampa Bay will win the American League Rookie of the Year award. He hit .293, slugged.478, and put up an OPS of .831 (OPS+ of 132). He was tied or second in home runs with 13, one behind Oswaldo Arcia of he Twins, led all AL Rookies in RBIs, and was second in runs. I think all that will get him the writer’s nod for the award I agree and would also vote for him.

NL: The fun is going to come in the National League where it seems to have come down to a choice between the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig and the Marlins’  Jose Fernandez (I see no particular support for either the Braves’ Evan Gattis or the Padres’ Jedd Gyorko). The Dodgers were dead in the water when the brought Puig to the big leagues. He responded by becoming the spark that started the team on the road to the NL West title. He hit .319, slugged .534, and had an OPS of .925. He scored 66 runs, had 42 RBIs, popped 19 home runs, and stole 11 bases. Add to that a terrific outfield arm and you have a player who can lead a team out of the doldrums. Fernandez couldn’t lead his team out of the basement. With that lineup Walter Johnson would have trouble getting a win. But Fernandez put up great stats with a terrible team. As a rule I believe that failure to get your team out of the basement is death for awards purposes. But Fernandez went 12-6 with an ERA of 2.19 over 172 innings. His WHIP was 0.979 and his ERA+ was 176. I think Puig’s help in resurrecting the Dodgers will get him a lot of votes, but I also think ultimately that Fernandez’s year was better. I’d vote for him. I think just maybe the writers will also.

2012 Awards: Rookie of the Year

October 31, 2012

The first Rookie of the Year winner, Jackie Robinson

Continuing my look at the 2012 postseason awards, here’s my take on the Rookie of the Year award.

AL–Mike Trout will win and should win this award. If you don’t know why, you aren’t paying attention.

NL–I have no idea who will really win this award. I have my choice as to who should win it, but I’m not confident about who will win it. It appears to come down to four candidates: Todd Frazier, Bryce Harper, Wade Miley, and Wilin Rosario. Frazier had a good season, especially when Joey Votto went down, but his late season numbers were way down and voters tend to remember the last thing they saw. Harper had all the press early. He was the phenom of phenoms. He played with emotion, he played with style. What he didn’t do was have the phenom of phenoms year. I have a feeling that will hurt him. I also think the Strasburg mess will hurt him because it took the spotlight off Harper and put it somewhere else. That’s never a good thing if you’re trying to win an award. Miley is the pitcher in the mix. He became the ace at Arizona and piled up 16 wins (tied for sixth in the NL) with a 3.33 ERA. Rosario had a great year power-wise, hitting 28 home runs and putting up 71 RBIs, both of which led our rookie candidates. Unfortunately he did most of that damage in Coors Field and that’s not going to win him a lot of support. Voters don’t seem to take seriously anything that happens in Coors Field. Further, he’s a catcher, and not much of one. My personal choice for RoY is Miley and I wouldn’t be surprised if the voters favoring the hitters split their votes and Miley slipped in to win. But my guess is that ultimately Harper will win, if for no other reason than his team had the best overall record.


February 16, 2011

1949 MVP Trophy

I received two very thoughtful and well thought out comments on my post “The Dynamic Duo”. I suggest you read both. Neither comment attempts to diminish the skills of the players in the Negro Leagues, but both comments raise a major issue about the Negro Leagues that is always going to be a problem: how do these players relate to the white players of their era in terms of baseball skills? Unfortunately, we do not know, nor can we make more than educated guesses. Even the statistics I quoted in the article are fragmentary and complete statistical information is probably impossible to find.

Anyway, the comments got me to thinking about the issue (which is not necessarily a good thing).  I asked myself “Is there a way to get something of a handle on how good these players may have been (and I stress May Have Been)?” I decided that there was no way to get a real answer to the question, but at least there was one way to get something of a feel for the answer. We can look at how well black players did in the first twenty or so years after integration (1947) of the Major Leagues. Although the players that make it to the Major Leagues are different from the Negro League stars like Josh Gibson, Judy Johnson, and John Henry Lloyd, they possess skills that can be quantified because we have the stats. Did the big leagues get lucky and the greatest set of black ball players ever all show up in the 1950s? Maybe, but the odds are against that being true. Surely some of the prior players were the equal, or at least almost equal, of the black stars of the 1950s. If that’s the case, then the Major Leagues missed out on some truly fine talent.

To determine just how good the first set of black players were, I decided to look at one simple set of information, awards. It may not be the best set to look at, but it has the advantage of being simple to find, reasonably simple to interpret, and is supposed to be a  measure of greatness. Having said all that, I acknowledge that the voting can be down right goofy to say the least so that everything said above about a measure of greatness and simple to interpret can be utter nonsense in specific years (For instance I still think Duke Snider should have beaten Roy Campanella at least once for an MVP.). I also decided to concentrate on the National League because it was first to integrate, got deeper into it quicker than the American League, and had no superior team like the Yankees who won consistently from 1947 through 1954 without a black player (and, yes, I know they lost in 1948 and 1954). Finally I stopped the research in 1966, twenty years after the initial appearance of Jackie Robinson. All that means this is fairly arbitrary in both what I’m looking at and when I end it, but I have neither the time nor inclination to carry this on to 2010 or look at every possible bit of statistical information.

Rookie of the Year: The initial RoY was in 1947. In both that season and the next there was only one award. Both years a NL player won the award, so we have a full 20 seasons of RoY’s in the NL. Of the 20 winners 11 were black (Jackie Robinson, Don Newcombe, Sam Jethroe, Willie Mays, Joe Black, Jim Gilliam, Frank Robinson, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, Billy Williams, and Dick Allen). That’s more than half. But also if you look at the dates, an inordinate number of them appear early in the period. By the 1956 choice ( Frank Robinson), seven had already won the award. By the last half of the twenty years (1957-66) the ratio reverses and there are more white winners (6) than black (4).

MVP: The MVP award had been going since 1931, so it was already established with a supposedly known criteria (Yeah, right). Between 1947 and 1966 black players won 12 National League MVPs (J. Robinson, Roy Campanella-three, Mays-two, Don Newcombe, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks-two, F. Robinson, and Cepeda). That’s almost exactly the same number as RoY wins (12 to 11). This time the awards are more well spread across the twenty years, but because you can only be a rookie once and an MVP lots of times, there is duplication in the MVP vote meaning that only eight black men won the MVP award.

For the same period in the American League it wasn’t until 1964 (Tony Oliva) that a black player won the RoY and the first black MVP in the AL was Elston Howard in 1963. Obviously black players made less impact in the AL in this period. Also I did not do the Cy Young award because it did not begin until 1956 and only went to two awards in 1967. (FYI Don Newcombe is the only black pitcher to win the award through 1966.)

So it’s certain that black players made an almost immediate impact on the Major Leagues, especially the NL. One other stat of interest is that 1947, the first year of integration, gave us the first black player in a World Series. In 1948 saw the first team (Cleveland) win the Series with a black player. The last all white Series was 1950 (New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies) and the first Series where both teams had black players was 1954 (Cleveland and New York Giants).

 Does all this prove that the Negro League players who were denied entry into the Major Leagues were Hall of Fame quality or even big league quality? Of course it doesn’t. But to argue they weren’t becomes a least a little more difficult when you see just how good their immediate followers were when they reached the Majors.

Roy Campanella freely credited Biz Mackey (Baltimore Elite Giants catcher and Hall of Fame class of 2007) as both a mentor and the man who made him a better catcher. Was Campy better than Mackey? Don’t know. But I do know that if Campy learned to be as great as he was by watching and listening to Mackey, then Mackey was one heck of a ballplayer. I’m afraid that’s the best we’re ever going to be able to say about the Negro League players who never got to the big leagues.

Picking the Winners, 2010 Style

November 24, 2010

Now all the postseason awards are handed out and there’s cheering in some circles and weeping in others. In some previous posts, I stated my position on the various individual awards. How did I do?

I looked at the awards in two ways. The managers I told you who I thought should win. With the other three awards (Rookie, Cy Young, MVP) I told you who I thought would win. Here are the results, managers first.

I said I would vote for Bud Black and for Terry Francona. I also stated that Francona had no shot at winning, but that I felt he’d done the best job trying to win with what was essentially an ER ward. I did note that Ron Gardenhire was a legitimate candidate to win, but that I personally chose Francona. So I went one for two, getting Black right. That’s better than I normally do. Usually I get the managers all wrong unless someone comes out of left field to win a pennant or something. So I can pat myself on the back, at least a little.

On the player awards I went 5 of 6, which is a lot better than I usually do. Maybe this trying to figure out what the writer’s are going to do is easier than picking the people myself. I got both MVPs, both Rookies, and the NL Cy Young winners. I missed, as I stated in my last post, the AL Cy Young winner. I underestimated the amount of credence the writers would give to the new sabrmetric stats that favored Felix Hernandez for the award. So I guess I had a reasonably successful time picking postseason awards in 2010.

Does it mean anything? Well, my picking doesn’t, but the writer’s picks might or might not (how’s that for being definite?). If you look down the lists of Rookies of the Year and MVPs and Cy Young Award winners you get a mixed bag. In rookie voting you get Cal Ripken and Ron Kittle in back-to-back years (BTW Ripken is the last ROY winner to make the Hall of Fame). Not all of the ROY winners go on to great careers. Sticking with Ripken, he wins the MVP in 1983 and is followed by Willie Hernandez. Not exactly the same quality player, right? The Cy Young gives us Sandy Koufax and Dean Chance in back-to-back seasons. Again, very different quality players. My point is simply that winning one of these awards is no guarantee of long term greatness. So we need to be careful about how much weight we put on these awards.

Having said that, congratulations to all the winners. I hope they go on to great and illustrious careers. Now if the Dodgers could just pick up one or two of these guys…

Picking the Winners: Rookies

November 3, 2010

Brad Komminsk

So the unimportant voting is finally over and the nation swings Red. Now we can get on to finding out how the really important voting went. Who won all the MLB awards?

As with the previous post I’m going to project who I think will win one of the awards. This time I’m going with the Rookie of the Year Award. Again, this is who I think the writers will pick, not who I think should win (although sometimes I agree with the pick).

AL-Neftali Feliz. I think the combination of 100 MPH fastball, 40 saves, a division title for a team that hadn’t won anything in a while, (remember all votes are in before the playoffs start) and his age will give Feliz the AL Rookie of the Year Award.

NL-Buster Posey. OK, here I’m going to admit that I may be projecting my own choice. This one could easily be wrong. I think it’s a two-man race with Jason Heyward and I think the writers will ultimately pick a Posey over a Heyward. First, Posey plays a harder position. Second, Heyward had a weak September and some of these voters don’t remember all the way back to last week, let alone to June. Third, the Giants win their division and Atlanta is the wild card. I’m not sure how much difference that makes, but it may be a deciding factor is some voter’s mind.

And finally (and I’ve put this in a different paragraph for a  reason), Heyward was a mild disappointment. Remember the first few weeks of his time in Atlanta? He was touted as the second  coming of Henry Aaron. That happens a lot. Every time the Dodgers come up with a left-hander who’s any good “He’s the next Koufax.” Well, no, he isn’t. When the Yankees get a new catcher who’s worth a damn “He’s the next Berra.” No, he isn’t. In Atlanta the next great thing is “The next Hank Aaron.” Well, no he isn’t. So, at the risk of nagging, just stop it. Quit already. The pressure put on a player to live up to that hype is enormous and it’s also unfair. I remember when Brad Komminsk was the next Hank Aaron. He never even got close. I remember they hung that tag on David Justice. Justice won a Rookie of the Year Award and hit the World Series winning homer in 1995, but there was always an aura of unfulfilled promise about him because he was supposed to be Hank Aaron and he just wasn’t. I’m afraid the same thing is going to happen to Heyward too and that would be a shame and grossly unfair to the man.