Sunday, November 12, 2006

Rookie of the Year Awards

The Rookie of the Year Awards will be announced tomorrow so today I thought I'd post my final rankings.

National League Rookie of the Year

1. (tie) Dan Uggla Marlins (tie) Hanley Ramirez Marlins
3. Ryan Zimmerman Nationals
4. Josh Barfield Padres
5. (tie) Josh Johnson Marlins (tie) Takashi Saito Dodgers (tie) Prince Fielder Brewers

Now I think Uggla and Ramirez probably deserve the award just slightly more than Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals but I think Zimmerman will end up winning the award because so many candidates from the Marlins will split votes. I also think that the race is so close that an argument for the top 3 in any order could be made.

American League Rookie of the Year

1. Jonathan Papelbon Red Sox
2. Justin Verlander Tigers
3. Kenji Johjima Mariners
4. Francisco Liriano Twins
5. (tie) Jared Weaver Angels (tie) Nick Markakis Orioles (tie) Melky Cabrera Yankees

Even though Papelbon missed basically the last month of the season - his 35 saves (8th in the AL) and his 0.92 ERA (best by far among AL relievers) still hold up to give him the award. I know Verlander supporters will argue and their argument will have merit but Verlander just falls short plus was Verlander any more valuable to his team than Liriano to the Twins? (Liriano actually had more Win Shares if you like that stat and Papelbon had more win shares than both of them.)

Probably the person who has the best case to make for ROY is Kenji Johjima who led AL rookies in HR and RBI while playing perhaps the toughest position for a rookie - catcher. Johjima has three things going against him though - 1. he's from Japan and many people don't view players from Japan as true rookies; 2. he plays for Seattle - a team which doesn't get much media exposure and was basically out of the race since opening day and 3. Papelbon made such a big impact early that other rookie stories didn't get the play they might have in other years.

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