SBN Awards: Rookie Of The Year - Not Wade Miley Either

No... No hype here at all... - Greg Fiume

The SB Nation universe voted for their end of season awards, and we start, as does the BBWAA, with Rookie of the Year in the National League.

Player Team 1st 2nd 3rd Points
Bryce Harper Washington Nationals 26 9 - 157
Wade Miley Arizona Diamondbacks 8 21 5 108
Todd Frazier Cincinnati Reds 1 4 9 26
Norichika Aoki Milwaukee Brewers - - 14 14
Zack Cozart Cincinnati Reds - 1 2 5
Andrelton Simmons Atlanta Braves - - 1 1
Anthony Rizzo Chicago Cubs - - 1 1
Lucas Harrell Houston Astros - - 1 1
Mike Fiers Milwaukee Brewers - - 1 1
Yasmani Grandal San Diego Padres - - 1 1

The top three were the same as in the BBWAA balloting: up to two writers from each NL team blog were eligible to vote. There were also entries from the non-team specific sites, like Minor League Ball or MLB Daily Dish, which is why the total number of ballots is more than 32. For the SnakePit, the representatives were John Baragona and Zavada's Moustache. Here are their comments on the results:

John Baragona

  1. Wade Miley
  2. Bryce Harper
  3. Zack Cozart

This was a very difficult decision as there were 5-6 excellent candidates who had outstanding rookie seasons. The decision at the top was the hardest as it came down to Wade Miley and Bryce Harper. I expect many will vote for Harper simply due to the hype and excitement surrounding his season, especially over the first few months. But his performance backed up the hype and I would not consider it out of line for him to win the award based on his contributions to the winningest team in the league. In the end I voted for Miley who was a stalwart in an under-achieving starting staff that was in the discussion for the best in the league at season's start.

Both Miley and Harper posted identical WAR seasons of 4.8 which is what made the decision so difficult. I think Miley pitched well enough that he could have easily been a 20-game winner and he might have run away with the award if his September had been as strong as the rest of his season. Being a rookie starting 30 games it was no surprise to see him tire a bit down the stretch, and I feel the long season takes more of a toll on a young starting pitcher than it might to a position player. I wouldn't call Harper's season a great one. A lot of his value comes from his fielding, so while I recognize the value of fielding, an .817 OPS isn't anything resembling a monster season. So Miley gets the nod from me.

I actually gave some serious considering to Zack Cozart for the top spot playing the most premium of defensive positions throughout a season-long playoff run from the Reds. I don't think this can be understated. While a .695 OPS makes it seem like he doesn't deserve to be in the conversation, manning the middle of the defense as a rookie in tons of high-leverage games is no small feat. In the end, his numbers don't measure up to Harper's who also played a premium defensive position. On a side note. Dbacks fans should take note of Cozart's season because it probably resembles what we might expect when our own Chris Owings makes it to the show in 2014 or 2015. Premium defensive position, some occasional power, low walk totals and a "lowish" OPS, but still a valuable player putting up a 3 WAR season at shortstop.

Zavada's Moustache

1. Wade Miley
2. Bryce Harper
3. Todd Frazier

I know, I know, this looks like a homer pick. Comparing the value position players and pitchers is still a profoundly inexact science, but the best tool we have for it (Wins Above Replacement) had them being more or less equal in 2012. I shouldn't have to tell you why being equal wouldn't be good enough for Miley to win the award: Bryce Harper is the most hyped, polarizing player of his generation, and he happened to play for an East Coast playoff team. Miley is not, and he did not. It would be very hard to argue that Miley's impact on baseball in 2012 was anything close to Harper's.

And yet, let's look at this from another angle. People have been predicting success from Harper since he was 15 and made the cover of Sports Illustrated. Check out that headline. Short of a Greek myth style prophecy at birth, you can't get much more preordained than Harper. Miley, on the other hand, had a 4.5 ERA in 40 innings in 2011, and both his FIP and my heart rate while watching him agree that it should have been much higher than that. Going into 2012, most of us wrote him out of the picture entirely, in favor of newer, sexier rookies like Bauer, Skaggs, and Corbin.

You know what happened next: Collmenter combusted on the mound in his first three starts, and Miley was there to clean up the residue. Once he got the starting role, he became the only moderately consistent pitcher on a staff that desperately needed someone consistent. Beyond his vaguely Torgo-like complexion, there was no resemblance between the nervous, shaky rookie of 2011 and the quick-working, strike-throwing ace we were treated to in 2012. Harper may well have the better career, but for my Rookie of the Year, I'll take the guy who wasn't even "The Chosen One" in his own farm system.

And if you're interested, here's the utterly unsurprising result for the American League voting.

Player Team 1st 2nd 3rd Points
Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels 26 - - 130
Yu Darvish Texas Rangers - 16 7 55
Yoenis Cespedes Oakland Athletics - 9 10 37
Jarrod Parker Oakland Athletics - 1 6 9
Jesus Montero Seattle Mariners - - 1 1
Matt Moore Tampa Bay Rays - - 1 1
Wei-Yin Chen Baltimore Orioles - - 1 1

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