Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Trout, Harper are best from great rookie crop

At the conclusion of every season, the members of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA) are asked to submit their ballots for the top awards across baseball. Each of these awards is named in honor of a player that epitomized the role in Major League Baseball. Over the next couple of weeks, I will release my ballots for each award and I will post the official announcements from the BBA with the combined votes of all member blogs.

Here is the list of awards that have been announced and the others that will be announced in the coming days:
Willie Mays Award for Top Rookie
American League

1. Mike Trout- CF- Los Angeles Angels
.326/.399/.564, 30 HR, 83 RBI, 27 2B, 49 SB, 129 R
This might not be the only piece of hardware for Trout when it comes to the 2012 awards season. He is one of the leading candidates for the MVP award in the American League and he didn't even start the season in the major leagues. He lead the American League is stolen bases and runs scored and for most of the year he was near the top of the league in batting average. His combination of speed, power, and outstanding defense in center field should make him an outstanding player for years to come. There were some other great rookies across the American League but Trout put together a season for the ages.

2. Yu Darvish- RHP - Texas Rangers
W-L (16-9), 3.90 ERA, 1.280 WHIP, 221 SO, 89 BB, 191.1 IP
At the beginning of the season, Darvish looked like the front-runner for this award because of all of the hype surrounding his arrival from Japan. It wasn't a perfect first year but Darvish was very good during his first season in the United States. He had the second highest strikeouts per nine innings in the American League and his 16 wins were tops among rookie pitchers. His 221 strikeouts were almost 50 more than his closest rookie competitor in the American League.

3. Yoenis Cespedes- OF, DH - Oakland Athletics
.292/.356/.505, 23 HR, 82 RBI, 25 2B, 16 SB, 70 R
Much like Darvish, Cespedes was an older rookie that was making the shift to the US from baseball in another country. Cespedes used his powerful swing to help Oakland to their first division title in multiple seasons. On a team with no big name players, Cespedes is the highest paid man and probably the team's most recognizable name. He finished second to Trout in home runs for AL rookies and he was only one RBI behind the Angels outfielder. It was a surprise for the A's to sign Cespedes but he proved his worth to the team. 

National League

1. Bryce Harper- OF -Washington Nationals
.270/.340/.477, 22 HR, 59 RBI, 26 2B, 18 SB, 98 R
It's tough to look at the season put together by Trout and expect the same thing from young Mr. Harper.   Even considering this, it was still a great season for the 19-year old Harper. He made his debut at the end of April and he was an impact player on the best team in the National League. His powerful swing compiled quite the highlight reel of moon-shots across different parks for the Nats. He also put together some outstanding defense with his ability to track down fly balls and Mr. Harper has one of the best outfield arms in the game. It looks like the future is bright for the Nationals and Harper is a big piece of their rise to the top of the NL.

2. Wade Miley- LHP - Arizona Diamondbacks
W-L (16-11), 3.33 ERA, 1.182 WHIP, 144 SO, 37 BB, 194.2 IP
The Diamondbacks were suppose to fight for another division title in the National League West and Miley did his best to keep Arizona in the race for the top spot. He tied Darvish for most wins among rookie pitchers and he led rookies in innings pitched. If not for one of the most hyped rookies in the history of the game, Miley might have been named the top rookie in the National League. He will have to settle for a second place finish and the hope he can help to turn around the D-Backs in 2013.

3. Todd Frazier- 3B, 1B, OF - Cincinnati Reds
.273/.331/.498, 19 HR, 67 RBI, 26 2B, 3 SB, 55 R
Injuries to key players on the Reds allowed Frazier to have a more significant role for the team destined to win the NL Central. His insertion into the line-up for the Reds helped them to keep distance between themselves and the rest of their foes in the division. His 19 home runs were only behind Harper and Wilin Rosario among NL rookies. He also ranked second in OPS and RBI versus other first year players in the NL while being in the middle of the push for the playoffs.

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