Baseball's award season is upon us and we finally have a vote that counts for something this year. We're proud members of the Baseball Blogger Alliance and they've been kind enough to give us ballots. The only thing the BBWAA ever gave us was a stick of bubble gum from a pack of 1952 Topps baseball cards. It was stale. Today we'll be unveiling our AL Willie Mays ballot for rookie of the year.
1. Austin Jackson
The 2010 AL rookie class pales in comparison to that of the senior circuit. The Tigers' center fielder gets my top spot even though a ridiculous .396 BABIP inflated his stats. He hit .293/.345/.400 for the season while playing a respectable center field (4.2 UZR) good for 3.6 WAR. The BABIP can't be sustainable so the batting average and on base percentage will certainly take a dip in the future but he looks like an everyday center fielder. Which is a lot more than I can say about the rest of the Tigers' lineup aside from Miggy Carbrera.
2. Brian Matusz
Baltimore's rookie left hander pitched well down the stretch and looks like a future front of the rotation starter. He finished the season with a respectable 4.30/4.05/4.51 line (ERA/FIP/xFIP) considering he pitches in baseball's toughest division and is just 23-years-old. The 175.2 innings he pitched was good enough for a 2.7 WAR and will probably anchor a promising young Orioles rotation. But Baltimore players continue to disappoint me, I'm looking at you Adam Jones.
3. Danny Valencia
I imagine that most ballots will include Rangers' closer Neftali Feliz and his saves record for rookies. Danny Valencia probably played over his head at third base for the Twins but he had a big impact with his 322 plate appearances. Valencia hit .311/.351/.448 with 7 home runs. Hey look, his OBP matched his wOBA at .351! What, I like wOBA. The .345 BABIP is wildly lucky but his numbers will most likely come down a little over a full season. Plus his 2.6 WAR trumps that of a relief pitcher (Feliz's 1.8).