With the BBWAA awards announcements on their way, SB Nation also wanted to get its own brand of awards handed out to the best rookies, pitchers, and players of the 2011 season. Today, SB Nation awards the American League and National League Rookie of the Year awards to two players who excelled in their first full season in the big leagues.
First up, the National League Rookie of the Year voting.
Congratulations to Craig Kimbrel of the Atlanta Braves for winning this year's SB Nation NL Rookie of the Year award!
And now, the American League Rookie of the Year voting.
Congratulations to Michael Pineda of the Seattle Mariners for winning the SB Nation AL Rookie of the Year award!
Discussion on each ballot after the jump.Kimbrel won in a landslide decision over fellow NL East rookies Danny Espinosa and Freddie Freeman. Kimbrel and his impressive season are worth recapping; he struck out almost 15 hitters per nine innings, lowered his walk rate from his short stint in 2010, and posted a 2.10 ERA and 1.52 FIP en route to a stellar 3.2 FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement total. If there was ever a reliever who was deserving of a major award like the Rookie of the Year, it was Kimbrel and his amazing 2011 season. Fish Stripes approves of this voting.
Pineda, on the other hand, won a close battle between a trio of rookies who each impressed in 2011. Pineda also impressed with his strikeouts, whffing more than nine men per nine innings while keeping his walks to a minimum as well. His electric stuff, including a 95-mph fastball on average, led to a 3.74 ERA and 3.42 FIP. He was challenged by another pitcher, the Tampa Bay Rays' Jeremy Hellickson, who threw more innings and posted a more impressive 2.95 ERA. So why didn't Hellickson take the crown? While that ERA may be shiny, his peripherals were not, as Hellickson's 4.44 FIP was more indicative of Chris Volstad than of Josh Johnson-quality. Eric Hosmer was jammed in between those two players in second place, and he had a strong opening campaign with a .293/.334/.465 slash line and a .342 wOBA. He should have a bright future anchoring what should be one of the best young lineups in baseball in the next few years.
Tune in tomorrow at the same time for the announcement of the SB Nation American League Cy Young award!