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Monday September 13, 2010 2:15 am

AL rookie race getting hotter




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, MLB,

Neftali FelizThe Rookie of the Year Award is not one of baseball’s most coveted honors. Those who win it sometimes do so because they are the “real deal,” and sometimes out of sheer luck and are “figured out” the next season. Nevertheless, it’s the RoY race is always as exciting as the playoff and MVP races, and this year’s crop of American League freshmen have put on quite a show. With less than three weeks left to play, deciding the winner may come down to who can end the year as hot as they started it.

Four hitters are competing for the AL RoY honors, two from Tampa Bay and two from Detroit. Tampa’s catcher, John Jaso, has played in 94 games with a .390 OBP and 43 RBI. At shortstop, Reid Brignac has had an excellent rookie campaign, but needs to improve on a .260 batting average. More votes will likely go to Detroit’s two outfielders, Brennan Boesch and Austin Jackson. Boesch’s 14 home runs and 63 RBI lead all rookies while Jackson has a .361 OBP with 22 stolen bases.

As far as pitchers go, it looks like only Texas’ Neftali Feliz and Tampa Bay’s Wade Davis are in the mix. Feliz has been a surprisingly effective rookie closer for the Rangers, largely contributing to the club. He has 36 saves in 39 tries. Baltimore’s Alfredo Simon’s 17 saves in 21 attempts pale in comparison. As far as starters go, Davis has been nothing short of spectacular with a 12-9 record with a 4.24 ERA in the fifth-spot of Tampa’s rotation. Both pitchers have been a large part of playoff-bound seasons for their franchises and may even face each other.

While Boesch has put together the most impressive season overall, Feliz will be his strongest competition for the Rookie of the Year award. 36 saves is good for anybody, let alone a rookie, and the Rangers are likely going to the postseason while the Tigers will be packing up early this season. That will certainly factor into the decision. Boesch was AL Rookie of the Month in May and June, but Feliz is an all-star. When it comes to overall impact, Feliz wins it all.

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