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SB Nation Awards #1: Rookie of the Year

As is traditional, SB Nation has an annual set of awards, mirroring those given out by major-league baseball. The voting structure is the same, with two people from each city - or blog, in this case - getting to take part. In this case, myself and Snakecharmer were the participants from the SnakePit. The results of the awards will be announced this week: we start with RotY today for both leagues, then go through Manager of the Year on Tuesday, Cy Young on Wednesday, NL MVP on Thursday and the AL MVP on Friday.

So, here are the awards for Rookie of the Year, with a couple of paragraphs below the table for the National League. There, Charmer and I reveal our ballots, together with a little explanation of why we chose who we chose.

National League 1st 2nd 3rd Points
Ryan Braun 13 6 2 85
Troy Tulowitzki 7 9 3 65
Hunter Pence - 4 9 21
Kevin Kouzmanoff 1 - - 5
James Loney - 1 1 4
Micah Owings - 1 1 4
Chris Young - - 2 2
Yovani Gallardo - - 2 2
Tim Lincecum - - 1 1

Jim's ballot:
1. Ryan Braun
2. Troy Tulowitzki
3. Micah Owings

There really wasn't much difficulty on this ballot. Braun posted an OPS over 1.000, something only six players under 25 have done in the past decade [min. 450 PA's] - and three of them are Albert Pujols. Sure, Tulowitski played a more challenging position, and clubbed a record number of homers by a rookie at his position. But 34 homers in 451 at-bats? Wow. And particularly after his comments in the NLCS, I was delighted to see that the majority of the SB Nation agreed with me that Tulowitzki wasn't the choice: I also note that Troy hit more like Stephen Drew when not a mile above sea-level, losing more than 240 points off his OPS.

The real dilemma was whether to pick Chris Young or Micah Owings for the third spot. Both certainly deserved consideration, but Owings' two-way threat finally gave him the edge in my eyes. We often talk about good-pitching hitters, but Owings elevated that to a level not seen in baseball since it became an integrated game. Young's power stroke was amazing, but I just couldn't bring myself to vote for someone with an on-base percentage below .300.

Charmer's ballot:
1. Ryan Braun
2. Troy Tulowitzki
3. Chris Young (AZ)

To me, this was a tough decision. Ryan Braun wasn't even up in the bigs until the end of May, and Troy Tulowitzki had a well-below-average month of April... just imagine if both of them had better starts! Yes, Braun's power numbers are crazy good in most categories, but to me a rookie who wins the "of the year" award should be a complete player, and Braun is well below average in that other important aspect - defense.

Tulowitzki is by far a better defender, and that has nothing to do with his position. He is a strong and talented fielder, and the Rockies would have been nowhere without his presence at shortstop, in the clubhouse as a leader, and at any position in the lineup. I think Tulowitzki made a bigger impact on the league as a rookie than Braun did. And third place was a no-brainer - Chris Young all the way. His season as the first NL 25-25 rookie and first ML 25-30 rookie, plus his impact on the league, makes him an easy choice.

American League 1st 2nd 3rd Points
Dustin Pedroia 15 4 - 87
Jeremy Guthrie 1 6 2 25
Brian Bannister 2 2 4 20
Daisuke Matsuzaka - 3 5 14
Reggie Willits 1 1 1 9
Delmon Young - 1 3 6
Hideki Okajima - 1 1 4
Rafael Perez - 1 1 4
Travis Buck - - 1 1
Rafael Perez - - 1 1