The 2001 NL Rookie of the Year voting will be remembered for....wait, do people remember rookie of the year voting?
Let me start over.
Some people voted for the top five rookies in the National League in 2001 and Albert Pujols won unanimously after putting together one of the most ridiculous rookie seasons ever-.329/.403/.610, 37 HR, 6.9 WAR. Pujols has gone on to a certain Hall of Fame career, and three of the four players who finished behind him in the voting-Roy Oswalt, Jimmy Rollins and Adam Dunn-have put together really good careers themselves. Also, Bud Smith received votes.
Here's a look at the top five.
1st - Pujols
Not much else needs to be said about the St. Louis first baseman, so I'll pick something at random. At baseballreference.com they have the following players as the top seven 'similar to Pujols through age 30':
Ken Griffey Jr.
Talk about associating yourself with a bunch of losers.
2nd - Oswalt
The former Astro has been one of the better pitchers in the NL since his excellent rookie season in '01-2.73 ERA, 144 K-24 BB IN 141 2/3 IP. Oswalt collected 143 wins with Houston and had a great 2005 NLCS against the Cards before struggling in his only Series start against the Whitesox. Houston traded Oswalt to Philadelphia mid-way through the 2010 season for two minor leaguers and J.A. Happ, who should not be confused as a major leaguer. According to baseballreference, Oswalt's nickname is 'Wizard of Os'. Anyone who can confirm this nonsense, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
3rd - Rollins
This was the first of two J.R.C.O's (Jimmy Rollins? Come On!) votes. See: MVP, 2007. Rollins was a 22-year old shortstop for the Phillies and he led the league in triples (12) and stolen bases (46), but his percentages were mediocre-.274/.323/.419. I guess he gained some points because his name was Jimmy. People love guys named Jimmy.
T-4th - Dunn
Much has been made of Dunn's horrendous, Derwood-on-the-JV-team-like 2011 season with the Palehose, and it's been really bad (57 OPS+, -2.4 WAR), but he burst onto the scene in 2001 with excellent numbers-.371 on-base percentage, .578 slugging, 19 home runs in just 286 plate appearances. Dunn would go on to club 335 more home runs over the next nine seasons with Cincinnati, Arizona and Washington before this season's debacle on the South Side.
T-4th - Smith
Oh yes, it's Bud Smith. The Cardinals' answer to the question: who the hell is Bud Smith?
A: it's that guy, right over there. THAT'S Bud Smith!
I was all ready to make a bunch of Bud Smith jokes until I looked at his appearances in 2001 and realized in only three of his 14 starts did he give up more than three earned runs. He also pitched a complete game, shut out against San Diego September 3. You know who finished up that game for the Padres? Rookie Wascar Serrano.
Official Offbase 2001 NL ROY voting
1. Albert Pujols
2. Roy Oswalt
3. Adam Dunn
4. Bud Smith
5. Jimmy Rollins
6. Wascar Serrano