ST PETERSBURG, FL: Pitcher Jeremy Hellickson #58 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Texas Rangers during Game Four of the American League Division Series at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Pierre Ducharme-Pool/Getty Images)
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson has been named the 2011 American League Rookie of the Year.
The 2011 regular season saw a number of talented rookies emerge in the American League. For a while in the first half, it looked like the Mariners' Michael Pineda and the Orioles' Zach Britton were the leading candidates to win the 2011 AL Rookie of the Year award. However, things shifted in the second half, and on Monday, the Baseball Writers' Association of America recognized the Rays' Jeremy Hellickson as the winner of the award.
Hellickson picked up 17 of 28 first-place votes. The complete voting table:
|Jeremy Hellickson, Tampa Bay Rays||17||5||2||102|
|Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim||5||11||5||63|
|Eric Hosmer, Kansas City Royals||4||4||6||38|
|Ivan Nova, New York Yankees||1||5||10||30|
|Michael Pineda, Seattle Mariners||3||2||11|
|Dustin Ackley, Seattle Mariners||1||1||6|
|Desmond Jennings, Tampa Bay Rays||1||1|
|Jordan Walden, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim||1||1|
Hellickson is the second player from Tampa Bay to win the award, after Evan Longoria won in 2008. He finished with a 2.95 ERA over 29 starts and 189 innings. Ivan Nova finished with a better record and Michael Pineda finished with stronger peripherals, but the writers just couldn't ignore Hellickson's shiny ERA. It also allowed him to beat Trumbo - who slugged 29 home runs - and Hosmer - who hit .293 with 19 home runs.
Nothing here is too surprising. I am mildly surprised that Nova picked up but a single first-place vote, given that he went 16-4 and that a lot of writers still care about pitcher wins and losses, but that's not a bad surprise.