Blog Entry

Hellickson, Kimbrel named Rookie of the Year

Posted on: November 14, 2011 2:09 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 2:40 pm
Hellickson, Kimbrel

By Evan Brunell

While the NL was saturated with quality rookies, there was one clear candidate that stood out: closer Craig Kimbrel.

On Monday, Kimbrel's excellent season was recognized as he was named NL Rookie of the Year. Over in the American League, Jeremy Hellickson took home the award.

Rookie of the Year
The Rookie of the Year award voting went exactly as Scott Miller predicted.
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Kimbrel's 46 saves blew past the previous rookie record for saves, set by Neftali Feliz in 2010 with 40 saves. While Kimbrel was lucky enough to both hold off and benefit from dominant setup man Johnny Venters, he was wholly deserving of the award. The righty struck out an incredible 127 batters in 77 innings, posting a 2.10 ERA.

The 23-year-old beat out two of his teammates in first baseman Freddie Freeman and starter Brandon Beachy for the honors. He also had to hold off Phillies starter Vance Worley and Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa. The last time an Atlanta player won Rookie of the Year was in 2000, when Rafael Furcal took home the win.

Kimbrel's victory was historic, as he paired with Freeman to finish 1-2 in the voting. It's the first time since 1989 that a team was represented with the top two finishers. The Cubs' Jerome Walton and Dwight Smith were the last to accomplish the feat, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. Not just that, but Kimbrel won unanimously, handing him the first unanimous vote since Albert Pujols' victory in 2001.

Hellickson, who now pairs with teammate Evan Longoria (2008) as the only Rays to win the award, entered the season with high expectations. Tampa Bay dealt away top pitcher Matt Garza in anticipation of Hellickson stepping in seamlessly, which he certainly did. In 29 starts, he posted a 2.95 ERA. He was actually very lucky, as he struck out just 117 and walked 72, but the Rays' dazzling defense behind him didn't disappoint. Hellickson gave up just 22.1 percent of all batted balls for hits, which is remarkably below the league average of 29 to 30 percent.

But while Hellickson's peripherals pointed to a poorer season than it may have otherwise appeared, the righty still put up remarkable numbers and is poised to break out into an ace in the coming seasons. If Tampa Bay had an average defense, Hellickson probably falls out of the top spot for the award, but it's not as if Hellickson's luck wasn't deserved. He led all rookies in innings pitched and some credit for his BABIP luck has to be attributed to Hellickson, who had the lowest opponent batting average among all rookies as well.

Hellickson beat out Mariners starter Michael Pineda and Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer for the honor. His closest competition was Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo, who received five first-place votes. Hosmer received four, with Ivan Nova of the Yankees taking home one along with Mariners second baseman Dustin Ackley.

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Since: Nov 18, 2008
Posted on: November 21, 2011 6:28 am

Hellickson, Kimbrel named Rookie of the Year

Since: Sep 9, 2011
Posted on: November 15, 2011 9:27 pm

Hellickson, Kimbrel named Rookie of the Year

W/L record doesn't illistrate a pitchers worth.  Wins only matter to a teach.  Pitching wins are a misnomer.

Since: Sep 9, 2011
Posted on: November 15, 2011 9:26 pm

Hellickson, Kimbrel named Rookie of the Year

Trumbo at #2 is the mistake.  Trumbo has Mark Reynolds or Garrett Atkins like upside.  He will be serviceable for a short while surviving off of Homeruns then eventually his K's will dig in too deeply and he will be worthless at a young age.  There is no defensive value here.

Since: Dec 29, 2006
Posted on: November 15, 2011 7:10 pm

Hellickson, Kimbrel named Rookie of the Year

Bronson - I am not saying Hellickson didn't have great numbers. But there ae numbers within the numbers. Nova had really good numbers and a far superior W/L record. Nova's home park is tougher to pitch in. Bringing up Henandez also and his park is pretty much a pitchers park. So the way things are looked at now, the guy pitching in the better pitcher's park should put up better numbers. But I still don't know how we can dismiss wins and losses. Hellickson was 13-10. If he had the same numbers and his record was 0-23, all the argument for givng the award to Hellickson would still be intact. But I bet no one would dare give him the award. So now Nova isn't good enough because he pitches in a hitter friendly ballpark, nor should he ever likely be good enough if we dismiss wins and losses. I will still say when Hernandez won, he shouldn't have, but he should have the previous year when Greinke won. Back to Nova and Hellickson. Hellickson is rewarded because TB is a very good fielding team. But Nova (and CC) are denigrated some because the Yankees score runs. I return to the statement that if Hellickson was 0-23 he should still win the award based upon what is important, to the people making the choices.  And it is obvious that win loss records mean nothing to them. So why would ERA mean anything? If a pitcher is winnng 9-1, all he is interested in is chewing up innings. If he gives up 3 more runs and wins 9-4, he is penalized. But if a pitcher is winning 1-0 and gives up 2 runs in he eighth inning and looses the game, it's just a loss, but his sabremetrics don't take a hit.  I will still opt for the pitchers that win. 

Since: Nov 18, 2008
Posted on: November 15, 2011 5:50 pm

Hellickson, Kimbrel named Rookie of the Year

Ps- thought Nova was OUTSTANDING too- forgot to mention him....

Since: Nov 18, 2008
Posted on: November 15, 2011 5:48 pm

Hellickson, Kimbrel named Rookie of the Year

Congrats to those pitchers!! - outstanding rookies! Pineda was strong too!  Trumbo had a great start for the Angels..
but I would be interested to know, of the above players mentioned, if you were a GM and had your pick of one of those players, who would it be?
I would bet you every single GM would say.. Eric Hosmer... his upside is scary- he is the closest thing to a 5 tool player in this years rookie class
(speed,  hits with power, hits for avg, strong arm and xlnt defensively) wait and see how long it takes the Yanks or Red Sox to go after him...   

Since: Sep 17, 2007
Posted on: November 15, 2011 4:44 pm

Hellickson, Kimbrel named Rookie of the Year

I am just getting tired of these great new calculations that dismiss wins and losses when all is said and done, tha is really all that counts in the long run.  
When you're talking about actual teams, wins and losses are all that counts but W-L record is perhaps the poorest gague of an individual pitcher's true value. Felix Hernandez is the paradigm of how a great pitcher can have a poor record due to poor run support, poor defense and other factors out of his control. Of course Yankee fans will scream that Sabathia should have won the award but across the board, King Felix was better in virtually every other category.


You're talking to a Sox fan here so I understand having high expectations from year to year but that doesn't blind me to acknowledging the deservedness of a player winning an award if he had a superior season to a guy on my team, just because he's on my team. If you take away the names, faces and uniforms and just compare Hellickson and Nova's numbers, Hellickson wasn't better by a landslide but he was the better pitcher this year.

Since: Dec 15, 2010
Posted on: November 15, 2011 3:28 pm

Hellickson, Kimbrel named Rookie of the Year

Gratz to both these players  on their award.Hopefully down the road they shall pick up the CY.

Since: Dec 29, 2006
Posted on: November 15, 2011 3:11 pm

Hellickson, Kimbrel named Rookie of the Year

The Hellickson pick is due to all the sabremetrics that now tell you wins and losses mean nothing. Also, Nova didn't have a good start to the season so that messed up his era and whip a little. ut once he started winning, he was sensational. And  am a Red Sox fan, but that doesn't allow me to downgrade Yankee players because I hate the Yankees. Nova only gave up 13 homeruns, whil Hellickson served up 21. Nova only walked 57 batters and Hellickon walked 72. Throw out Nova's first five games and this s his line:  144.1 innings  139 hits  46 walks 54 earned runs won 15 lost 2 era 3.36 whip 1.28     &
nbsp;  So while going 15 and 2 let us look at those two losses.  9 innings 18 hits 6 earned runs 4 walks. So in his 15 wins his line is:
135.1 inings  121 hits  42 walks  48 earned runs  era  3.20  whip 1.21 wins 15 loses 0 

It isn't as if Nova's numbers are bad, and he was just lucky to have 3 more wins nd 6 less losses.  But doesn't Hellickson pitch in a more friendly home park fo pitchers? And he isn't pitching for a team that can't score runs although he does have two losses where TB was shut out.  if Hellickson pitched in Y maybe he would have given up 30 homeruns istead of 21. I am just getting tired of these great new calculations that dismiss wins and losses when all is said and done, tha is really all that counts in the long run.  

Since: Dec 14, 2007
Posted on: November 15, 2011 12:50 pm

Hellickson, Kimbrel named Rookie of the Year

Both are good choices for ROY honors. Congratz to both teams, and both players.

As far as I'm concerned, many yankee fans will simply say that ANY choice that did not include one of their aging, and in this case rookie prima donnas is the wrong choice. So what, I'm SO glad to see someone there besides the typical no imagination choices paraded before the public every winter...

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