I’ve written about the Rookie of the Year race at length and each time, my conclusion was similar: There was a unique depth to the field this year where you could make a case for any number of players. Eric Hosmer’s late September charge put him on the radar, but the race was so wide open, he merely got himself in the conversation. In the hours prior to the announcement, I tweeted that I was so unsure of the results, I could see Hosmer finishing anywhere from first to fourth.
Turns out I was (pretty much) spot on. The voters seemed to agree that there were so many players worthy of consideration, not a single rookie was named on every ballot. I didn’t go through the history of ROY voting, but that just seems amazing to me.
In the end, Jeremy Hellickson takes home the hardware, with Mark Trumbo second, The Hos taking third and Ivan Nova finishing fourth.
There are 28 voters for the AL ROY (technically two from each AL city) and each voter lists their three choices. Here’s how many ballots each player earned:
Hellickson – 24
Trumbo – 21
Nova – 16
Hosmer – 14
Pineda – 5
Ackley – 2
Jennings – 1
Walden – 1
Hosmer finished ahead of Nova in the final balloting because the bulk of Nova’s votes were for third place. Hosmer’s were spread a little more evenly between the three slots. Some takeaways from the voting:
— The initial knee jerk reaction I saw on Twitter from Royals fans was disbelief that Hosmer was left off of 14 votes. I would hope that when they saw how fractured the voting was, they calmed down. Again, there was just a ton of candidates and you can make a case for all of them. (Well, except Trumbo… More on that in a second.)
While it’s nice for the hometown guy to get the recognition, it’s not that big of a deal. Especially the Rookie of the Year award. I know I’ll catch hell from Nick for not referring to the Jackie Robinson Award (it’s rightful name) but maybe we should change it to the Joe Charboneau Award. It seems there have been more winners who have flamed out than have gone to the Hall of Fame.
— I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that while Hellickson was the clear favorite among the majority, the voters who listed Trumbo second, most likely had Nova third on their ballot. Makes sense, doesn’t it? The voters who swoon for home runs and RBI would also go for wins, right?
— That Trumbo earned so much consideration isn’t really surprising to me. Yes, I know about the .291 OBP, but he had a couple things going for him that no other hitter had. One, voters dig the long ball. And two, he was the only rookie hitter to play the entire season in the bigs.
Counting stats are still huge among members of the electorate, and the only way to rack up the big numbers is to play the whole season. With Hosmer arriving in May, Ackley in June and Jennings in July, these three will ultimately be superior players to Trumbo (I’m betting) but they had had a distinct disadvantage this year.
— After the strides that have been made in the MVP and (especially) the Cy Young awards, it’s odd that the ROY still fights this battle. Chalk it up to the unique nature of the award and the fact that often, the winner does not play the full season. It surprised me that Ackley got such lukewarm support. He played a premium defensive position and
— Defensive metrics hurt The Hos. Again, we’ve discussed this at length, but for some reason the defensive measurements that help define WAR despised Hosmer. If some “enlightened” voter decided to look beyond the HR and RBI and examine some advanced numbers, they would have seen Hosmer’s fWAR and rWAR were depressed.
Hosmer’s 1.6 fWAR was behind not only Trumbo, Jennings and Ackley, but Josh Reddick and Jemile Weeks as well. His 1.3 rWAR is below everyone who received a vote except Walden.
— There needs to be more transparency in the process. The BBWAA doesn’t need to make every ballot public, but we should be able to find out who the voters are for each award. Some of the best articles I read every winter are from voters and their thought process behind their ballot. I respect those guys who give us a peek behind the curtain so to speak.
— Finally, I cast a ballot for ESPN’s SweetSpot Network and ranked the AL Rookie of the Year award: