My MLB Awards: Rookie of the Year

Monday, November 10, 2008 begins awards week for Major League Baseball.  Here are my picks for the first awards to be announced, Rookie of the Year:

American League: Evan Longoria, 3B , Tampa Bay Rays. Two other serious candidates, Chicago’s Alexei Ramirez and Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury should merit consideration, especially Ramirez.  Longoria ranks last among the three candidates in batting average, hitting a pedestrian .272.  None of the three hit over .300, so the differences between them, at least in terms of batting average, is negligible.  Longoria, in 32 fewer at-bats than Ramirez and 106 fewer than Ellsbury, hit 27 home runs and drove in 85 runs to lead AL rookies.  He also was on-base at a respectable .343 clip, also tops among rookies, which is impressive because of Ellsbury’s status of a base-stealer and a guy who often hit at the top of the lineup.  Longoria’s slugging percentage of .531 ranked eighth in the American League and he played a solid third base.  Voters are going to like his offensive numbers.

National League: Geovany Soto, C, Chicago Cubs. Reds pitcher Edinson Volquez should also merit consideration, but after starting 8-1 with an ERA south of 2.00, but he didn’t have a great second half, which should reduce some of his luster among voters.  He finished with a respectable 3.21 ERA in 192.0 innings and won 17 games, but I think Soto takes the award.  He finished second among rookies, hitting .285 and slugging 23 home runs.  His 86 RBI led NL rookies and caught a good game, guiding the Chicago pitching staff to the NL Central crown.  Look at his work with Ryan Dempster, who had a career year as a hitter and while Soto can’t take full credit for Dempster’s success, he seems to handle pitchers well.  Another Red, Joey Votto, could also merit consideration, but I think the voters will go with Soto.

Stay tuned to Backwards K all this week for more predictions on MLB postseason awards.

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