Baseball Bloggers Alliance in its first year as we attempted to recognize MLB players in a way the Baseball Writers Association of America does.
The BBWAA wasn't too pleased with the fact that we named the awards the same as theirs, so this year the BBA's awards recognize greats of the game.
As President of the Cleveland Chapter, I will be posting the collective votes from the Indians chapter and together it will count as both of Cleveland's votes. The other blogs within the Cleveland chapter are The B-List, Indians Prospect Insider, and Deep Left Field.
Today's award is the Willie Mays award, recognizing the best rookie in the American League.
3. Austin Jackson, DET
Jackson was on an base-machine early in the season for the Tigers, at one point up there with the league leaders in average. In the end he did what any capable leadoff hitter should do, get on base and score runs. He also patrolled spacious Comerica in Detroit, no easy task for any rookie center fielder.
2. Brennan Boesch, DET
Austin Jackson and Scott Sizemore got all the pub early on for the Tigers as rookies, but it was Boesch who really ended up coming in and having an explosive. Austin Jackson played the entire year and put up good numbers, but it was Boesch who helped the run production for the Tigers. Boesch led all AL Rookies in RBI and home runs.
1. Neftali Feliz, TEX
Feliz broke the rookie record for saves in a single season as Texas' closer and set the new mark at 40. He was selected to the All-Star game and he struck out 71 hitters in 69 innings.
Honorable mention to Brian Matusz and Wade Davis, both who I personally considered. Davis led all AL Rookies in wins and AL starters with at least 100 IP in ERA, Matusz was king of strikeouts.
Matusz and Davis were one of two AL Starters to make 28 starts. The other was Mitch Talbot of our own Cleveland Indians.
Like I did last year though, I think it would be positive to take a look at the Indians rookies, Talbot being one of them.
As we know, Talbot had an incredible first half, but his second half was ruined by injuries, hitters making adjustments, and probably downright fatigue. Talbot did bounce back to put in a few good starts towards the end, but the Indians are probably first-half Mitch is what we get next year rather than second half Mitch.
Pre All-Star Break, Talbot led AL starting rooks (with at least 30 IP) in innings pitched, wins, ERA and WHIP.
Had his season not been cut short early, Carlos Santana could have made an honest run for placement in rookie of the year voting. He was that good that early. Even though he got called up in early June, he hit six home runs and knocked in 22 runs in just 150 at-bats. He had a .401 on-base percentage at the time of his injury. Obviously it is unlikely that would have kept up but in the end he only four rookies in the AL had more walks than Santana and they all had 300 at-bats and Brennan Boesch only had three more walks than Santana.
Michael Brantley is considered a rookie eligibility wise, but I think we are beyond classifying him as one in the grand scheme of things. Still, despite being up and down in the majors he stole ten bases, good enough for a second place tie among AL rookies.
Probably the most surprising rookie performance from the Tribe came in the form of Jason Donald. The second baseman placed seventh in the AL among rookies in hits, right ahead of Michael Brantley.
Not all was positive though. There was one rookie performance that was downright abysmal and it came in the form of Lou Marson. While stint two was a little more productive for Marson after the Santana injury, it wasn't a vast improvement and, his overall numbers still look like crap. Among hitters with at least 100 at-bats, Marson ranks next-to dead last in terms of average, ahead of only Matt Tuiasosopo of Seattle who hit .173 in 127 at-bats. Yikes.
Pitching wise other than Talbot, the Indians had a pair of rookies make at least ten starts in Josh Tomlin and Jeanmar Gomez. Of pitchers with at least 40 IP, only relievers Neftali Feliz and Alex Ogando of Texas had a better WHIP than Josh Tomlin and he pitched in more innings than both of them.
Right behind Tomlin was reliever Frank Herrmann who carried a 1.28 WHIP in 40+ innings. Herrmann had a great first few outings but he eventually bounced back down to earth.
On the bad flip side was Hector Ambriz, the Indians Rule V pick from Arizona. In 34 appearances, Ambriz had a ERA of 5.59. Of rookie pitchers with at least 40 innings pitched, only Bryan Bullington.... BRYAN BULLINGTON, had an ERA higher than that. And not even Bullington's WHIP was as bad as Ambriz's 1.76. The next closest was.... oh god.. Jeanmar Gomez with 1.65, ECK.
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