The Rookie of the Year award – or the Willie Mays award, as it’s known in the BBA – isn’t the easiest honor to give out, since it’s sometimes a little tricky to know how much weight to give future potential. If a 30 year old has an amazing (fluke) season, while a young top prospect is almost as good, it’s tempting to give it to the guy you think will actually be good again next year. For the purposes of this ballot, I’m mostly going to ignore that though.
3. John Jaso, C, TBR .263/.372/.3780, .341 wOBA, +4.2 UZR, 2.5 fWAR, 2.4 brWAR A catcher with plate discipline skills so good he bats lead-off. In fact, he walked well more than he struck out (59 BB to 39 K), giving him the best K/BB ratio in the majors (min. 400 PA). I’m a big, big fan.
2. Brian Matusz, P, BAL 175.2 IP, 4.30 ERA, 4.05 FIP, 4.51 xFIP, 2.7 fWAR, 3.1 brWAR I picked him to win it before the season, and though he had a rough start, he came on strong enough at the end of the year to jump into the discussion. If Matusz posts the kind of strike-out and walk numbers he had in the second half this year (7.9 K/9, 3.1 BB/9) in upwards of 200 innings next year, the O’s should have an OK #2 starter on their hands. And if he improves some – which is perfectly reasonable – then, well, that would be awesome.
1. Austin Jackson, CF, DET .293/.345/.400, .333 wOBA, +4.2 UZR, 3.6 fWAR, 2.5 brWAR Really, there are plenty of names after Jackson who could have been listed in the 2 and 3 spots (Danny Valencia, Brett Cecil, and Neftali Feliz just to name a few). The top spot seemed pretty easy though, given that Jackson lapped the field in fWAR. Sure he’s never going to post a .396 BABIP again – without which his value would have plummeted (give him a still really, really high .350 BABIP, and Jackson’s bat would have been well below average instead of a touch above). I said I wasn’t giving future potential much weight though, and what Jackson did on the field makes him the AL’s top rookie in my opinion.
Quick NL ballot:
3. Jamie Garcia
2. Buster Posey
1. Jason Heyward
The Senior Circuit had the much better rookie class in 2010. Heyward’s a beast (post-season notwithstanding).