As a proud member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, I am gladly ready to submit my vote for the Rookie of the Year in the American League. Usually when the season unwinds, there is always one clear cut favorite for the award. There is one rookie that steps up his game better than any of his young rookie peers. This season, there are so many names to choose from. Matt Wieters, Elvis Andrus, Nolan Riemold, Gordan Becham, and Brett Gardner are options as fielders. Meanwhile, the pitching in the American League has been so talented from rookies, that in some instances it has carried teams. Ricky Romero, Jeff Niemann, Rick Porcello, Andrew Bailey, Brett Anderson. The List goes on and on. Nailing it down to three candidates this year wasn’t easy, but here is my stab at it.
3.) Elvis Andrus, Texas- Without a doubt, the success of the Rangers this season had a lot to do with Andrus. For the first time in a long time, the Rangers had solid defense up the middle, and a lot of it had to do with the flashy play of the man they call Elvis. Though his average wasn’t spectacular (.267), Andrus found a way to get on base. He stole 33 bases to go alongside his .329 on base percentage. He will be a solid player the next decade for the Rangers.
2.) Jeff Niemann, Tampa Bay- Many believe that Niemann is the rookie of the year, because quite frankly he performed like it. At 13-6 with a 3.94 ERA and 125 strikeouts, Niemann was dominate at points. But then in other stretches he wasn’t. On the road he gave up a .272 average. Without a doubt, in a year where David Price was supposed to lead this rotation, Niemann stepped in. Unlike my vote for rookie of the year vote, Niemann didn’t step up when it mattered most. He also wasn’t carrying a rotation at points at the age of 20, like our rookie of the year was.
1.) Rick Porcello, Detroit- Go ahead, call me a homer, but did any rookie in the 2009 season keep his team in a playoff race like Porcello did? In his last three starts, Kid Dynamite only gave one run each time out. He silenced the Twins and gave the Tigers a chance to reach the post-season. He silienced Shrek to the tune of a body slam. He started more games than any other rookie. Of all the American League Rookie of the Year Pitching Candidates, only Rick Porcello was competing start to start in a playoff hunt. Only once did Porcello lose two straight games (in April). The next month he answered back with five straight wins. He is one of the few reasons the Tigers even had a shot at the playoffs. Sometimes an award is about more than just the numbers. Rick Porcello is the type of competitor and personality that combined with the performance, deserves this award.