The Rookie of the Year Award, also referred to as the Jackie Robinson Award by the BBWAA and the Willie Mays Award by the BBA, does not have strict voting standards other than the fact that the player must be a rookie. The award, though, has caused many arguments thanks to the way some perceive the standard at which the award should be voted.
Some take it at face value, meaning they give the award to the rookie that had the best season, no matter his age, creed, or potential future stardom. Some believe you can give credit to a rookie who has the chance to be a star in the near future. Others refuse to vote for players with experience in the Japanese league.
I like to keep it fairly simple. Look at all the rookies and choose the ones who had the best season. If there is a situation where two rookies appear to be in a tie I will then decide to break the tie based on the player’s future potential. Pretty simple.
My ballot for the American League Willie Mays Award:
1. Mike Trout (CF – LAA): This one was simple. Trout led all players in both fWAR and rWAR and lead the AL in OPS+, stolen bases, runs scored, Bsr, and tied for the league lead in wRC+.
2. Yu Darvish (SP – TEX): Darvish finished fourth among all AL pitchers in fWAR , second in K/9, and fifth in strikeouts with 221. Darvish was the best rookie pitcher in the game and had the second highest fWAR among all rookies in the Majors.
3. Jarrod Parker (SP – OAK): Parker may have benefited greatly from pitching in Oakland’s spacious park but he still finished with 3.7 fWAR and 3.8 rWAR and finished second among all pitchers with a 0.55 HR/9.
My ballot for the National League Willie Mays Award:
1. Bryce Harper (OF – WAS): Harper led all NL rookies in fWAR, rWAR, while hitting 26 doubles, 9 triples, 22 homeruns, stealing 18 bases, throwing out 8 runners, and posting a +9.9 UZR. Oh, and he was 19 years old.
2. Wade Miley (SP – ARI): Miley finishes a close second place with nearly the same fWAR as Harper but almost 2 rWAR lower. Miley lead all rookies in innings pitched, ERA, and ERA+ while finishing fifth among all NL pitchers with a 1.71 BB/9.
3. Norichika Aoki (OF – MIL): Aoki finished tied for second among all NL rookies with a 3.3 rWAR and fourth in fWAR with 2.9. He lead all NL rookies with 30 stolen bases, had an impressive 115 wRC+ while logging most of his innings in center field, and he was the fourth hardest person to strikeout in the NL.
-Jonathan C. Mitchell can be found writing about the Tampa Bay Rays at DRaysBay and the Florida Marlins at ESPN’s SweetSpot site Marlins Daily. You can follow him on twitter at @FigureFilbert. Be sure to follow MLBdirt at @MLBdirt
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis Tagged: | Arizona Diamondbacks, Bryce Harper, Jake McGee, Jarrod Parker, Lance Lynn, Los Angeles Angels, Matt Moore, Mike Fiers, Mike Trout, Milwaukee Brewers, Norichika Aoki, Oakland A's, Oakland Athletics, Rookie of the Year, Texas Rangers, Todd Frazier, Wade Miley, Washington Nationals, Willie Mays Award, Yoenis Cespedes, Yu Darvish