Tuesday, October 18, 2011

NL Rookie of the Year Picks

This post marks the second part of our eight-part series highlighting baseball's major postseason awards. Today we take a look at some of the top candidates for National League Rookie of the Year, as well as our picks for the prestigious honor.

Josh Collmenter - SP Arizona Diamondbacks
2011 notable stats: 10-10, 3.38 ERA, 154.3 IP, 1.07 WHIP, 2.4 WAR
-The 25-year old finished second among all NL rookies in innings pitched and third in both games started and wins.

Danny Espinosa - 2B Washington Nationals
2011 notable stats: .236/.323/.414, 21 HR, 66 RBI, 17 SB, 2.8 WAR
-Espinosa finished tied for first in homers among all league rookies, was first in runs scored, was second in RBI and stolen basess, and third in doubles.

Freddie Freeman - 1B Atlanta Braves
2011 notable stats: .282/.346/.448, 21 HR, 76 RBI, 32 2B, 1.0 WAR
-Led all NL rookies in RBI and doubles, was second in runs scored, and finished the year ranked third in SLG and OPS.

Craig Kimbrel - RP Atlanta Braves
2011 notable stats: 4-3, 2.10 ERA, 46 SV, 79 apps, 3.0 WAR
-Was named to NL All-Star team, tied for league lead in saves, was first in games finished (64) and finished second in appearances.

Vance Worley - SP Philadelphia Phillies
2011 notable stats: 11-3, 3.01 ERA, 131.7 IP, 2.8 WAR
-Finished second among all league rookies in wins, was fourth in strikeouts, and fifth in innings pitched.

@jimmiadair's pick:

Craig Kimbrel - The Braves' closer put together one of the finest rookie campaigns in MLB history in 2011. He shattered the previous rookie saves record of 40 and put together the league's longest scoreless streak at 37+ innings. He did blow eight saves during the course of the year, but his minuscule ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 14.84 K/9 ratio more than overshadowed those. It's quite possible that Kimbrel could also pick up the Rolaids Relief Man Award too -- given to the top relief pitcher in each league.

@RedlegsWriter's pick:

Craig Kimbrel - I hear a lot of people say that the "Save" is an overrated stat by which to judge the success of a relief pitcher. Perhaps that is so, but considering Craig Kimbrel was a rookie thrown into the closer role and the fact that he came out of it with 46 saves and a 2.10 ERA was enough to convince me. 46 saves tied Kimbrel for the NL lead in a position that can be feast or famine. One bad pitch can inflate your numbers and make you look awful when you basically only get to pitch one inning in a given game. It's especially impressive that he did it pitching in the same division as the Phillies, and in what in the end turned out to be a very tight wild card race, although the Braves did not end up making the playoffs. If there's one thing the Braves know, it's pitching, and it seems they've got another gem who can anchor a bullpen that was arguably the best in the NL this year.

Check the blog again tomorrow when we break down our picks for the AL Cy Young Award.

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