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Wednesday November 18, 2009 11:58 pm

AL Rookie of the Year - Andrew Bailey




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, Editorial, MLB,

Andrew BaileyAndrew Bailey has just highlighted a personal accomplishment on a team marred by lowlights in 2009. He is the newly honored 2009 American League Rookie of the Year. Representing the Oakland Athletics, Bailey is the third Oakland player to win the award in the last six seasons. With 13 first place votes, six second place and five third place for a total of 88 points, Bailey was hardly challenged by any other American League rookie. The only others close to challenging Bailey for the award was shortstop Elvis Andrus from the Texas Rangers (65 points), and Detroit Tigers right-handed starter Rick Porcello (64 points).

Born in Haddon Heights, New Jersey, Bailey was drafted by the Athletics in the 6thd round of the 2006 MLB Draft from Wagner College in New York City. He rose quickly through the A’s minor league system, and then made his debut on the A’s 2009 Opening Day 25-man roster at just 24 years old. His storybook season began on April 6 against Los Angeles, where he pitched a perfect inning with a strikeout. He wouldn’t allow a run until his seventh game against the New York Yankees when he gave up a solo home run to Johnny Damon – which was also just his second hit allowed at that point.

With Oakland’s 75-87 record, Bailey become the first AL Rookie of the Year winner on a team under .500 since 2002, when Eric Hinske won the award with the Toronto Blue Jays, and the first relief pitcher since Huston Street – whom Bailey effectively replaced in 2009 – won the award with Oakland in 2005. In a comparison of Street and Bailey, the more recent winner has the edge. While he’s behind by just 0.12 in ERA, his 26 saves, 91 strikeouts and 49 allowed hits in 83.1 innings shine high over Street’s 24 saves, 72 strikeouts and 53 hits in 78.1 inning of work.

Bailey’s rookie season is highlighted by much more than his award. He was selected as the only Athletic to go to the All-Star Game in St. Louis, and his 26 saves eclipsed Street’s rookie record of 24. While Bailey wasn’t supposed to be the team closer in 2009, a right elbow injury to Joey Devine gave Bailey his opening – an opening that few rookies get so early into their careers – as Devine had to undergo season-ending surgery before the season even began. Bailey took full advantage of his unique situation, and while being given low-leverage situations early on, he grew to become the 2009 AL Rookie of the Year.

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