As my annual duty as a member of the Baseball Bloggers Association, I will be posting my selections for the various postseason awards throughout the week. The BBA has taken the step this year to name their awards after great players in the past who best represent the award. I like this, and think it’s a great little addition.
Sadly, I missed the deadline for the Connie Mack Award (top manager) already, so we’ll just move on to the Willie Mays Award for top rookie. You can expect the rest of the awards throughout the week. Always feel free to let me know where I’m wrong.
Willie Mays Award (Rookie of the Year)
A.L.: Neftali Feliz, Texas Rangers
The rookie of the year award always seems to stump me at least once every year. It just feels like we’re “settling” for someone every now and then. Maybe it’s just me. I’m choosing Neftali Feliz here over Austin Jackson for that exact reason. Jackson is probably going to win the BBWAA’s award, and I can’t quite shake the feeling that it’s because the writers have no one else to vote for. Feliz, despite getting saddled as a closer (which I really, really hope doesn’t pigeonhole him in the future), is the better rookie in my mind. His 40 saves are nice, of course, but we all know saves aren’t a great statistic. Instead, it’s his strikeouts and walks that really grabs me. Jackson had a nice year, but it’s not enough to beat Feliz.
N.L.: Jason Heyward, Atlanta Braves
There is no wrong answer here, provided you’re choosing either Jason Heyward or Buster Posey. They both had absolutely fantastic years and they’re both going to be All-Stars for many years to come. Frankly, I think it’d be sweet if the two split the vote evenly and shared the award. My one vote goes to Heyward, though. His hot two-month start, his ability to get on-base even after his injury, his solid defense in the outfield, and, most importantly, his two extra months of playing time all tilt it in his favor. Posey has hit for more power, didn’t once slump even as the season progressed and the Giants entered the pennant race, and plays a fine defense at the tougher position. The two less months of playing time can’t be ignored, though, nor can the fact that Posey played about a month of the year at first. Like I said, my vote goes to Heyward, but Posey is just as deserving.