Monday, November 16, 2009

Bailey, Coghlan Win AL & NL Rookie of the Year

The Rookie of the Year Awards were announced in both leagues today.

Unlike 2008, when Evan Longoria was a no brainer for AL Rookie of the Year, this year's recipient wasn't so clear cut.

I was pulling for Andrew Bailey though and sure enough he won this year's award. The Oakland Athletics reliever saved 26 games and had a ERA of 1.84 in 83 and one thirds innings pitched. Bailey also struck out 91 batters. It isn't easy being a closer on a last place team and I think the BBWAA took that into consideration. Bailey beat out Texas Rangers shorstop Elvis Andrus and Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Rick Porcello. I was surprised however that Baltimore Orioles outfielder Nolan Reimold didn't garner a single vote though and I'm not the only one. He led all AL rookies with 15 home runs. But maybe the home run isn't worth what it used to be.

Bailey's selection is a testament to the Athletics strong minor league system. This is third time since 2004 an Athletics player has won AL Rookie of the Year. Bobby Crosby and Huston Street (another closer) won the award in 2004 and 2005, respectively.

A year ago Chicago Cubs catcher Geovany Soto won 31 of 32 first place votes in the NL Rookie of the Year balloting. Again, this year's recipient wasn't so clear cut. But when the balloting was all said and done Florida Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan won NL Rookie of the Year honors beating out two strong starting pitchers in J.A. Happ of the Philadelphia Phillies and Tommy Hanson of the Atlanta Braves who won 12 and 11 games, respectively. Coghlan did not make his MLB debut until May 8th but never looked back once he did hitting .321 with 9 home runs and 47 RBI. He collected 162 hits in only 128 games played.

While Coghlan's production wasn't as good as that of either Casey McGehee of the Milwaukee Brewers (16 HR, 66 RBI) or Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates (12 HR 54 RBI plus 22 stolen bases) his .390 OBP and 84 runs scored helped put him over the top. One must also remember Coghlan is a leadoff hitter thus that brings his production down. Besides Coghlan's presence made it easier for Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez to move Hanley Ramirez to the number 3 spot in the batting order. His presence also rendered Jeremy Hermida, the Marlins one time top prospect, expendable and recently dealt him to the Boston Red Sox. And if that weren't enough one must further consider that Coghlan had to learn how to play the outfield since Dan Uggla is enconsed at second base.

I am surprised that McCutchen's teammate Garrett Jones didn't get more votes belting 21 homeruns in only 314 at bats. But again please see Nolan Reimold.

Coghlan becomes the third Marlin to win NL Rookie of the Year honors since 2003. Dontrelle Willis and Ramirez won those honors in 2003 and 2006, respectively.

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