Monday, October 6, 2014

Abreu, deGrom Top this Year's 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. Jose Abreu- 1B - Chicago White Sox
.317/.383/.581, 36 HR, 35 2B, 107 RBI, 5.5 WAR
It's hard to ignore the numbers that Abreu put up during his first tour of duty in the American League. He broke the Chicago White Sox rookie record for home runs and he had the best slugging percentage in all of baseball. He was in the top five in home runs, RBI, OPS, and extra-base hits. He even finished in the top ten in batting average. He seemed to be able to do it all at the plate and he should easily win this award. 

2. Danny Santana- OF/SS - Minnesota Twins
.319/.353.,472, 7 HR, 27 2B, 20 SB, 3.9 WAR
If Santana had been in the big leagues for the entire season, he might have been able to push Abreu for the top spot on this list. He surprised a lot of people by hitting at a higher level than he had shown during his minor league career. Santana provided a spark to the Twins line-up and he was a threat on the base paths while trying to get acclimated to a new defensive position. 

3. Collin McHugh- RHP - Houston Astros
W-L 11-9, 2.73 ERA, 154.2 IP, 157 K, 41 BB, 4.2 WAR
Fans outside the Houston metro area might have missed the strong season put together by McHugh. He was close to the rookie innings limit before the season as he had pitched almost 50 innings with the Mets and the Rockies. He struck out more than a batter an inning and limited his walks to be very effective pitcher on a team that could improve in the coming years.

National League
1. Jacob deGrom- RHP- New York Mets
W-L 9-6, 2.69 ERA, 140.1 IP, 144 K, 43 BB, 3.1 WAR
It was a very strong season for deGrom in a year when many people were focused on the emergence of Billy Hamilton. He struck out over nine batters per nine innings and walked less than three batters per nine. He also seemed to get stronger as the season progressed. He started to limit his walks and his strikeouts increased after the first couple months. 

2. Billy Hamilton- OF- Cincinnati Reds
.250/.292/.355, 6 HR, 25 2B, 56 SB (23 CS), 2.5 WAR
This award was Hamilton's to win but he suffered mightily in the second half. He hit .200/.254/.511 in the second half and went 18-for-28 in steal attempts. His steal total was great but he also led baseball in being caught on the bases. There were questions about his ability to hit consistently at the big league level and those questions will follow him into 2015.

3. Ender Inciarte- OF- Arizona Diamondbacks
.278/.318/.359, 4 HR, 18 2B, 19 SB, 3.7 WAR
Inciarte gets a lot of his value on the defensive side of the ball but he didn't totally embarrass himself at the plate. The Diamondbacks used him at all three outfield positions with most of his time coming in center field. He did well to collect almost 20 steals while only getting thrown out three times. 

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