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SBN Awards: Rookie Of The Year

SB Nation's annual awards season has begun, starting with the top first-timer from each circuit


It's that time of year again, where we as a network reveal who won the SBN awards for the past season. First up, we'll tab the top rookie in each league. A couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Each baseball website received two votes for each award. For Over the Monster, that was myself and Ben Buchanan.
  • We were only allowed to vote for the league in which our team resides. So, neither of us could impact any NL races you really had your hearts set on.

With that, here are the results:

Player Team 1st 2nd 3rd Points
Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels 26 130
Yu Darvish Texas Rangers 16 7 55
Yoenis Cespedes Oakland Athletics 9 10 37
Jarrod Parker Oakland Athletics 1 6 9
Jesus Montero Seattle Mariners 1 1
Matt Moore Tampa Bay Rays 1 1
Wei-Yin Chen Baltimore Orioles 1 1

Mike Trout was the unanimous choice for SBN's America League rookie of the year, which shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who remembers the 2012 season. Given it just happened and all, we'll assume that qualifies each and every one of you. Trout hit .326/.399/.564 with an AL-leading 171 OPS+, while also leading in runs and steals. Trout's glove was also a huge positive in his favor, and the combined package likely means good things for his SBN AL MVP chances, too.

Texas' Yu Darvish was the consensus runner-up. Darvish struck out 221 batters in 191 frames in his first season stateside, and while at first it seemed as if it might take awhile for him to transition properly, his strong second half bodes well for the future. Yoenis Cespedes was the only other to receive a notable number of second-place votes, thanks to his .292/.356/.505 debut that has to be one of the most immediate and impressive moves from Cuban baseball to the majors ever.

As for the Senior Circuit:

Player Team 1st 2nd 3rd Points
Bryce Harper Washington Nationals 26 9 157
Wade Miley Arizona Diamondbacks 8 21 5 108
Todd Frazier Cincinnati Reds 1 4 9 26
Norichika Aoki Milwaukee Brewers 14 14
Zack Cozart Cincinnati Reds 1 2 5
Andrelton Simmons Atlanta Braves 1 1
Anthony Rizzo Chicago Cubs 1 1
Lucas Harrell Houston Astros 1 1
Michael Fiers Milwaukee Brewers 1 1
Yasmani Grandal San Diego Padres 1 1

Bryce Harper received a ton of support here, garnering as many first-place votes as Trout, but the NL has more voters than the AL. Ergo, he didn't get the unanimous nod, despite more overall points. Harper burst onto the scene, but a terrible start to the second half slowed down his year, and the teenage center fielder finished at .270/.340/.477. That's still phenomenal for a 19-year-old, but in a year with Trout, it became less noticeable.

Wade Miley started the year looking like regression was bound to come in his next start, but over time, he began to miss more bats, and found the strike zone with regularity. This led to a 125 ERA+ in 194 innings and 29 starts, to go with 3.3 times as many punch outs as free passes.

If you couldn't tell by the sheer volume of rookies receiving votes, the 2012 season was a fantastic one for first-time players. Even if you cut Harper and Trout out of the equation, 2012 still stands out as special in that regard.

One more note: Ben and I happened to vote the same players in the same order for this award, and that mirrored the actual results: Trout, Darvish, Cespedes.