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Craig Kimbrel, Jeremy Hellickson named Rookies of the Year

Nov 14, 2011, 2:07 PM EDT

Craig Kimbrel AP

The official award season is upon us and the first announcement has been made: your 2011 Rookies of the Year are Craig Kimbrel in the NL and Jeremy Hellickson in the AL. Kimbrel was voted the award unanimously. Hellickson received 17 of the 28 first place votes.

Kimbrel seemed like a lock for some time.  Closing games is a high profile endeavor, and Kimbrel closed them like crazy.  He led the league with 46 saves, breaking Neftali Feliz‘s record for rookies in the process.  A dominant force out of the pen in 2011, Kimbrel struck out 127 batters in 77 innings while only issuing 32 unintentional walks, for a K/BB ratio of 3.97. Therein lies the key to his success, as over the course of his minor league career he only stuck out 2.55 batters for every one he walked.

As for Hellickson, his 13 wins — five down the stretch as Tampa Bay made their improbable late drive for the AL Wild Card — and 2.95 ERA put him fairly easily past Mark Trumbo and Eric Hosmer.  He led all rookie pitchers in ERA, innings (189), starts (29) and opponents’ batting average (.210).

Finishing behind Kimbrel was his Braves teammate Freddie Freeman, then Vance Worley and Wilson Ramos.  Complete voting results can be found over at

  1. timasahh - Nov 14, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    Would have loved to have seen Worley bring home the ROY award. He was exciting to watch and was a great presence in the Phillies rotation throughout the entire year. However, Kimbrel was a beast, and thinking with my head not my heart, he was the best choice. Congratulations to him and the Braves. They have a guy who looks like he can be dominant for years to come. I still remember the first time I saw his biting slider. Scary.

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 14, 2011 at 2:30 PM

      Well maybe if he was closing he could have won it too, but alas!, he had to pitch twice as many innings as the deity closer had to….. Those closers are worth big bucks I hear…. Because they’re closers.

      • oikosjeremy - Nov 14, 2011 at 3:10 PM

        I’m actually ok with giving the RoY to whoever does the best job at whatever job he’s asked to do, even though some jobs are more important than others. Up to a point, obviously; the RoY shouldn’t be somebody who’s only used a pinch runner but does a great job at it.

  2. pestiesti - Nov 14, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    Yay! Now it’s time for some outsized anger about down-ballot voting! Take it away Keith Law:!/keithlaw/status/136158797780623360

    • Kevin S. - Nov 14, 2011 at 3:18 PM

      For what it’s worth, the anger is at first-place votes, not down-ballot votes.

  3. Detroit Michael - Nov 14, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    Trumbo finishing second in the AL Rookie of the Year balloting is hard to square with the supposed theme of BBWAA voters pay attention to advanced statistics. Nice home run total, but that’s about it. Poor OBP and little defensive / positional value aren’t quite as easy for the BBWAA voters to evaluate apparently.

  4. shozo26 - Nov 14, 2011 at 3:05 PM

    Ummm Ivan nova anybody

    • Kevin S. - Nov 14, 2011 at 3:19 PM

      What about him?

      • edog623 - Nov 14, 2011 at 9:30 PM

        That he had a better WAR than the 3 players above him (by both measures). Hellickson is deserving but let’s acknowledge that Nova was right there with him, probably a bit better than Hosmer, and miles ahead of Trumbo.

    • Kyle - Nov 14, 2011 at 3:59 PM

      No thank you.

    • phukyouk - Nov 14, 2011 at 4:43 PM

      he was great but not ROY worthy.. maybe if he had that extra month but i tend to agree with the pick.

  5. Walk - Nov 14, 2011 at 5:04 PM

    I believe kimbrel is going to have the better career by far than freddie freeman i believe mr freeman should have got the nod this year. I think freddie is going to have a lackluster second year however if babip goes back to normal it may be sub .250. Freddie hit 280ish with solid defense, better slugging percent than anyone figured but the .339 babip is worrying me. Great year from freddie and 157 games played would have tipped the award in his favor for me though it is so close in my mind every article i read tips it back and forth. Kimbrel was phenomenal though even when he was tired i saw him go out there and get a bit wild, calm down, take 3-4 mph off fastball and drill low corners. There were a lot of great rookies this year, it was a good year to be a fan and bodes well for next year.

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