The Rookie of the Year race this year was as close as can be in both leagues. In the National League it could have gone four ways and in the American League I think it was totally up for grabs. Marlins’ outfielder, Chris Coglan, took the award in the NL and in the AL, it was A’s closer Andrew Bailey bringing home the award.
Let’s begin with the AL and here is how my ballot would have gone:
First place vote: Andrew Bailey
Second: Rick Porcello
Third: Elvis Andrus
When I initially thought AL ROTY, my first instinct was Porcello, who was solid for most of the season. Although by the end of the year, he only had the fourth best ERA in his starting rotation (behind Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson, and Jarrod Washburn) and it was 3.96. His strikeout numbers weren’t that great and he had a bad June and July. He is a groundball pitcher who will have success in this league but he won’t overpower anybody. This isn’t a knock on him, but expect a Derek Lowe type career from him.
And I see better things coming for both Elvis Andrus and Andrew Bailey. The reason I have Andrus third is because, with a .267 average, I’m not sure how much love you’re going to get. However he does have a solid glove and huge upside, the kid is only 21.
But Bailey flew under the radar all throughout the season and even at the end of the season, the casual fan still probably couldn’t tell you he was tearing it up in Oakland. The A’s weren’t all too great this year and they played in the western time zone so it makes a little sense if you didn’t know who the kid was. But the kid is electric. To go along with his 1.84 ERA, he struck out 91 batters in 83.1 innings. He was 26 for 30 in save oppurtunities and he didn’t get his first two saves until May and didn’t blow any saves after June 16. Talk about finding his place. It wasn’t that long ago that another A’s closer won ROTY as well, when Huston Street did it in 2005.
For the NL, it was a tough one and it really could have gone either way but here’s what I would have put down:
First: JA Happ
Second: Chris Coghlan
Third: Tommy Hanson
It was so close that I think I may have needed some hometown bias in this one. But really, Happ lead the Phillies starters in ERA, on a staff that includes a few All Star caliber pitchers. He threw two complete game shutouts, as a rookie, in the National League. He was the most reliable Phillies starter this season and always kept the team in the game. He knows how to pitch and he disguises his pitches well and he sure has a rotation spot locked up for next season.
But Coghlan won the award, who was equally as impressive this year, he barely beat out happ by 11 votes. He really came into his own in the second half this year after being called up mid-season. He is a true leadoff hitter as he was mentioned in many sentences this season with Hall of Famers and All Stars today regarding his hit totals. He drives the ball to all fields and takes a decent approach at the plate. He’s the tablesetter that Hanley Ramirez and Jorge Cantu needed. Congrats to him for winning the award.
Althought however, Tommy Hanson and Andrew McCutchen fell farther back than I thought they would. I thought that this race was going to be a lot closer. Tommy Hanson has some dirty stuff and if he can avoid injury will post huge strikeout numbers in his career. The Braves are sure to have one of the best rotations in the league next year and Hanson will be a big part of that. Then there’s McCutchen who is a five tool player that, at the rate the Pirates are at now, will trade him for more three decent-but-nothing-special Double-A players sometime in the next few years. Kidding of course. The Buccos know they need to hang on to this kid if they ever want to be good in the next twenty years.
I’m expecting all four of these guys to have great careers.
The AL Cy Young announcement is tomorrow, I’m expecting it to be Zack Greinke. No one else is really too close. Then the Manager of the Year announcement is on Wednesday. Jim Tracy is going to run away with the NL while Mike Scioscia and Ron Gardenhire are my co-winners in the AL.
Season Preview: Detroit Tigers
Projected MLB Rank: 27th — AL Rank: 12th — AL Central Rank: 5th — Record: (68-94)
The city of Detroit just doesn’t have the luck these days. The American auto industry,
centered in Detroit, is falling apart. The Lions, well, they went defeated and didn’t win a game. The Pistons are free falling in the eastern conference. And for the 2009 Tigers, don’t expect much.
Before the 2008 season, the Tigers had won 88 games the previous season and had just made a huge trade with the Marlins, acquiring Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera. For a team with much recent success and some young talented arms, they were picked in 2008 by many to even get to the World Series. The Tigers ended up falling apart in ’08 and had the third worst record in the AL.
This season, I don’t expect much to change. They weren’t all too busy this offseason and who they did sign, aren’t going to take them to the playoffs, and most likely not even over .500.
Gary Sheffield is 40 and hit last season with 19 HR and 57 RBI. I think the fact that his name is out and paired with steroids affects his play. Adam Everett is a definite step down from Edgar Renteria, who isn’t the player he used to be, which definately says something about Everett. Brandon Inge will be playing everyday and taking his .205 average out to third base with him.
The bright spots in the lineup come from now first baseman Miguel Cabrera. This kid is still 25 years old. Last season he hit .292 with 37 dingers and 127 RBIs. Placido Polanco will hit .300 and is one of the best fielding second baseman in the league. Carlos Guillen and Magglio Ordonez will get their production numbers as well but are 33 and 34, respectively. Curtis Granderson gives the Tigers pop at the top of the order.
Pertaining to the pitching, Detroit had a team 4.91 ERA last year and let up 5.29 runs per game (3rd to last in the AL). After so much promise from the young arms the two previous seasons, they fell apart last season. Here’s some comparisons:
2007: 18-6 / 3.66 ERA / 183 SO
2008: 11-17 / 4.84 ERA / 163 SO
2007: 11-9 / 5.01 ERA / 145 SO
2008: 3-4 / 4.29 ERA / 44 SO (12 games)
2007: 9-13 / 4.56 ERA / 119 SO
2008: 7-11 / 4.44 ERA / 108 SO
2007: 10-15 / 5.17 ERA / 136 SO (w/ FLA)
2008: 0-2 / 9.38 ERA / 18 SO (8 games)
Only Bonderman and Verlander are expected to be in the rotation this season. They brought in Edwin Jackson, and Zach Miner and Armando Galarraga should develop. But I just can’t see these pitchers getting this team anywhere.
The bullpen is questionable. Brandon Lyon saved 26 games for the Diamondbacks last season yet had a 4.70 ERA. Fernando Rodney, Clay Rapada, and Bobby Seay each had ERA’s over 4.00 and Joel Zumaya was injured last season. Freddy Dolsi was the brightest spot in the bullpen last season that returns this year and still had an ERA of 3.97.
The fact that they have a good mix of veteran and young talent could help them this season but then I look at the pitching, especially the bullpen, and realize that they cannot compete given these young arms that have seemed to tired early.