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SB Nation Awards: Rookie of the Year

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Moving on to the next in the series of SB Nation awards, we have the voting for Rookie of the Year. In contrast to the Manager of the Year award yesterday, which was a landslide for Jim Tracy, this was a great deal closer. The top four contenders all received between six and nine first place votes and it was largely the distinctions further down the rankings which decided the final victory. One thing, however, remained unchanged: the word "Diamondbacks" was not to be heard on any voter's lips, despite the decent performance by the like of Gerardo Parra in this area.

After the jump, we'll go through the ballot in detail, and throw a few reminders at you, in case you're not quite able to put a face to the name.

Rk Player Team 1st 2nd 3rd Pts
1 Tommy Hanson Atlanta Braves 9 9 6 78
2 J.A. Happ Philadelphia Phillies 6 9 7 64
3 Andrew McCutchen Pittsburgh Pirates 8 3 5 54
4 Chris Coghlan Florida Marlins 7 5 4 54
5 Dexter Fowler Colorado Rockies - 3 1 10
6 Randy Wells Chicago Cubs - - 6 6
7 Garrett Jones Pittsburgh Pirates 1 - - 5
8 Casey McGehee Milwaukee Brewers - 1 2 5
9 Seth Smith Colorado Rockies - 1 - 3

Arizona faced winner Tommy Hanson on August 17th in Atlanta., and he pitched pretty well that day, giving up two runs on six hits over six innings - he walked none and struck out seven. Arizona lost 8-4, with Hanson taking the win, though to be honest, the six unearned runs allowed by Max Scherzer that day, probably had something to do with it as much as Hanson.  Curiously, runner-up J.A. Happ posted exactly the same line against us, when we faced the Phillies on July 29th. However, he ended up with the loss, the Braves running into the buzz-saw which was, er, Yusmeiro Petit. The Petit Unit shut down the potent Philadelphia line-up for six innings, and Justin Upton drove in three runs as we blanked the visitors 4-0. Based on their performance against us, Randy Wells would probably be a Rookie of the Year contender, as he blanked us for seven innings during the final series at Wrigley.

On the position player side, if we were going purely on performances against the Diamondbacks, neither Andrew McCutchen nor Chris Coghlan would likely have qualified, as neither made much of an impression. In six games, McCutchen went 5-for-29, with no home-runs and one RBI, though five walks helped elevate his OPS to a merely mediocre .693. Chris Coghlan would have been delighted with anything like that: in seven games, he was 4-for-25, posting a line of .162/.192/.200, and a K:BB ratio of 6:1. Better numbers were posted by Casey McGehee (7-for-12 with two HR), though he only played in three games against Arizona. In more at-bats, the award would go to Dexter Fowler, who in 38 PAs versus the Diamondbacks, was at .310/.459/.586, with three stolen bases.

My ballot went Happ, Coghlan, Hanson. Even though Happ was relatively old for a rookie, at 26, you can't ignore a 145 ERA+. Some of the raw numbers, such as WHIP, went in Hanson's favor, and at age only 22, he's got astonishing potential - he's probably more likely to win a Cy Young down the road, and become another in the long line of great young Braves pitching. However, Happ threw almost forty more innings and was also working in a much less pitcher-friendly environment. Despite his struggles against us, Coghlan flourished, ending the year with a .321 batting average, sixth-best in the National League. He also had a credible K:BB ratio of 77:53, and didn't embarrass himself with the glove, in his first professional year playing the outfield.

Moving over to the American League, it's really hard to comment meaningfully, as I barely know anything about most of the contenders. Still, got to love any players named "Elvis," especially one playing in Texas. I note Andrew Bailey getting almost twice as many first-place votes, but also getting left off almost half the ballots, and that cost him first-place. It'll always be tough for a closer to win this award. Further down the list, I note former Diamondbacks prospect Brett Anderson, traded to Oakland as part of the Dan Haren trade. He had a solid year, especially given he's only 21. In July, he had a complete-game shutout against the Red Sox, and less than two weeks later, took a perfect game into the eighth. Haren didn't come cheaply...

Rk Player Team 1st 2nd 3rd Pts
1 Elvis Andrus Texas Rangers 6 9 6 63
2 Andrew Bailey Oakland Athletics 11 1 3 61
3 Jeff Niemann Tampa Bay Rays 3 5 3 33
4 Rick Porcello Detroit Tigers 2 7 2 33
5 Brett Anderson Oakland Athletics 5 1 3 31
6 Gordon Beckham Chicago White Sox 1 2 8 19
7 Nolan Reimold Baltimore Orioles 1 - 1 6
8 Matt Wieters Baltimore Orioles - 1 3 6
9 Brad Bergesen Baltimore Orioles - 1 - 3
10 Ricky Romero Toronto Blue Jays - 1 - 3
11 Travis Snider Toronto Blue Jays - 1 - 3

Tomorrow, it'll be the Cy Young award, and one hopes that Dan Haren might perhaps merit a mention on a ballot or two there?