Monday, November 10, 2008

2008 BBWAA Rookie of the Year Picks (AL & NL)

The ballots are officially in and the American and National League Rookie of the Year awards have been provided. In the American League, it is Evan Longoria, and Geovanny Soto who takes the cake in the National League.

These picks were to be expected, neither coming as a surprise to anyone. However, the BBWAA are not getting off easy here, as they did botch part of the voting.

Evan Longoria won the American League's award as an unanimous choice, collecting each of the 28 first place votes. Longoria, as the linked article states, was the only player to show up on each of the 28 ballots-which is part surprising, part disgusting.

The most second place ballots went to the Chicago White Sox infielder Alexei Ramirez. Certainly Ramirez is worthy of being on ones AL Rookie of the Year ballot, however, he clearly was not the second best rookie in the American League. Finishing third in VORP is support for that.

Worse yet, Jacoby "I fell off the table" Ellsbury, took third place. This clearly has more to do with Ellsbury being a Red Sox then it does with his actual statistical line. Keep in mind, Ellsbury essentially lost his starting job down the stretch-and entirely in the playoffs. According to Baseball Prospectus' VORP statistic, Ellsbury rated as the 6th best rookie position player in the American League. In other words, he was hardly worthy of being on anyones ballot, let alone being the third highest voted rookie.

However, the Ellsbury pick is not even the most embarrassing issue presented here. That honor belongs to the 23 writers who left Mike Aviles off their ballots altogether. To hear the explanation of any of these writers is assured to be one of the bigger jokes in recent baseball writing. There really is not an explanation for taking Ellsbury over Aviles, but even giving those 5 writers a mulligan, we still had far too many of baseballs journalists (experts in their field) ignoring the rookie that could have won the award, and at the very worst, should have finished in the top 3.

The National League, at first glance, also managed to get things right. Except, wait...What?!? Somebody actually thought that Joey Votto's 2008 season was superior to Geovanny Soto. WHO?!?

Soto eclipsed Votto in every win and value stat available. In fact, it is hardly even close in most cases. Even if we ignore position, Soto was a vastly superior first year player.

The BBWAA again proved why they have little to no credibility. While the writers did manage to pick the proper winners, the widespread failures to accurately rate the players ruins the overall value of this award. How can Evan Longoria truly feel proud of this award when the voting is so inaccurate?

Once the writers make their individual picks known, I will add further reflection. For now, I am going to assume that the writers simply forgot Mike Aviles played. However, I'm certain this mulligan will be waived once we read comments such as 'Jacoby Ellsbury stole so many bases and played for a winning team'.


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