Rookie of the Year Awards Announced

The Rookie of the Year awards were announced today, with A’s closer Andrew Bailey taking the award in the AL and Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan winning in the NL. I was largely resigned to these decisions, though I don’t think they were correct. My self-righteous indignation and brazen second-guessing can be found at MLB Notebook. An excerpt is below; click through for the full version.

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“Coghlan hit an impressive .321/.390/.460 – I’m not taking anything away from that – but that wasn’t too much more substantial than Pirates center-fielder Andrew McCutchen’s .286/.365/.471 line. McCutchen outhomered Coghlan 12 to 9, drove in more runs (54 to 47), and did both in 72 fewer plate appearances. On top of that, Coghlan played left-field (his natural position of second-base was occupied by Dan Uggla) – and somewhat poorly at that (-11.1 Ultimate Zone Rating) – while McCutchen was about average (-0.7 UZR) in the more valuable outfield spot (CF). Overall, Coghlan came in at 2.3 Wins Above Replacement according to FanGraphs, while McCutchen blew him out of the water with 3.4 WAR. A shiny batting average – built largely off of a .366 BABIP – is nice, but defense matters too…

Over in the junior circuit Bailey was largely lights-out as a closer, saving 26 games in 30 chances with a 1.84 ERA. His teammate, starter Brett Andreson, went just 11-11 with a 4.06 ERA, so obviously he got just 4 points in the voting (6th place). I’ve made the case previously for Anderson, noting that he lead all rookies – in both leagues – in WAR, at 3.8. That he pitched many more innings than Bailey (175.1), while striking out batters (150) and maintaining good control (45). That his 3.33 K/BB ratio – while not as good as Bailey’s 3.79 – was still 8th in the AL amongst all qualified starters. And finally, that despite the gulf in ERA, Anderson’s 3.69 FIP was every bit as impressive as Bailey’s 2.56, given that a pitcher moving from the rotation to the bullpen can expect about a 1 run drop in ERA. Guess it wasn’t meant to be, though it should allow Anderson to fly under the radar a little bit next season…

Overrating batting average and saves, underrating defense – it’s just like old times. Takes me back* to the simpler days when men where feared and pitcher finished what they started and Joe Morgan was the crazy guy who actually valued getting on base.

* You know, like ten years before I was born. Those were the days.”