My IBWAA Ballot: AL Rookie of the Year
Updated: Nov 14, 2022
It's awards week! Today we continue with the AL Rookies and the BBWAA/IBWAA winners!
As is standard with the IBWAA, each voter was allowed a Top-3 vote for the Rookie of the Year. The 1st place player receives 5 points, 2nd place gets 3 points, and 3rd place gets 1 point.
3rd Place: Steven Kwan (Cleveland Guardians)
Statistics: 147 Games, .298/.373/.400/.772 (124 OPS+), 168 Hits, 6 Home Runs, 52 RBI's, 62 BB's, 60 K's, +22.0 Off, 1202.2 Innings, +15 DRS, -0.7 Def, +5.5 bWAR/+4.4 fWAR
Very few people could have predicted the season that Steven Kwan gave Cleveland fans this season. Going into 2022 they were a team that desperately needed outfield help from the season before, and Kwan gave them a solid bat and a top tier glove in the corner. He's a player they are going to count on building around for years to come.
He nearly hit to a .300 batting average, and even though he didn't he still led all American League rookies. He also struck out at just a 9.4% clip which is generally unheard of in the modern sport. This did come at the cost of power output as Kwan had just 6 home runs- or the same amount as Oswaldo Cabrera...in over 100 more games. Unfortunately, while I like the high average hitter, I do have to see the bigger picture and without power, Kwan was never going to win.
2nd Place: Adley Rutschman (Baltimore Orioles)
Statistics: 113 Games, .254/.362/.445/.806 (128 OPS+), 101 Hits, 13 Home Runs, 42 RBI's, 65 BB's, 86 K's, +22.4 Off, 762 Innings, +18 DRS, +13.1 Def, +5.2 bWAR/+5.5 fWAR
Coming into the season as one of the favorites to win the American League Rookie of the Year Award, Adley Rutschman did anything but disappoint. Since getting drafted 1st overall in the 2019 draft, he has known (and had the pressure) of being pegged as the future of the Baltimore Orioles team. It's been just 3 years and he's already well on his way to making that the reality.
As a catcher it is especially hard to win the Rookie of the Year award when considering the efforts to keep them off the field to keep them on the field longer. It seems oxymoronic, but rest days for catchers are treated religiously. It also keeps catchers from accumulating the best stats relative to their peers. Could Adley have reached 20 home runs? Maybe. And then we'd have a serious discussion for #1. Regardless, Rutschman's offense and defense are going to be mainstays while tormenting other clubs in the AL East for years to come. I can't say I'm excited as a Yankees fan, but as a baseball fan it is good for the sport.
1st Place: Julio Rodriguez (Seattle Mariners)
Statistics: 132 Games, .284/.345/.509/.853 (147 OPS+), 145 Hits, 28 Home Runs, 75 RBI's, 40 BB's, 145 K's, +33.4 Off, 1126.2 Innings, +3 DRS, -0.5 Def, +6.0 bWAR/+5.3 fWAR
And if Adley Rutschman was not the true favorite to win the AL ROY going into this season, it had to be Julio Rodriguez. Another top prospect in the game whose debut was highly anticipated, he also did not disappoint in his freshman season to the major leagues. While it was hindered a bit by injury (twice), his overall stats exceeded just about every other rookie not only in the American League, but all of baseball.
Rodriguez plays the game with the "new wave" attitude, he signed a contract for the next decade (and then some) in Seattle this season, he's already become the face of the franchise that just got to the playoffs for the first time since 2001 (though they were expanded a lot this year), and his stats were better than everyone else. It's very hard to disagree with this pick. He earned it.
Jeremy Pena (Houston Astros)
Statistics: 136 Games, .253/.289/.426/.715 (101 OPS+), 132 Hits, 22 Home Runs, 63 RBI's, 22 BB's, 135 K's, +4.8 Off, 1165.0 Innings, +15 DRS, +10.0 Def, +4.8 bWAR/+3.4 fWAR
George Kirby (Seattle Mariners)
Statistics: 25 Games (25 Starts), 8-5 Record (.615 WP%), 3.39 ERA (109 ERA+), 130.0 IP (2.99 FIP), 135 Hits, 22 BB's, 1.208 WHIP, 133 K's, +1.4 bWAR/+3.0 fWAR
Like I did last week with the National League, I wish I had more spots to offer votes for these two players.
The contest in my mind between Steven Kwan and Jeremy Pena was immense, and I promise this was not an anti-Astros thing. It was moreso that Kwan had good-to-great hitting with above-average defense in the regular season while Pena hit just averagely. For a rookie shortstop who is a budding star (especially after what he showed in the postseason) this is nothing bad, but he just fell short of 3rd place for me.
On a different note, George Kirby was the best rookie pitcher in the American League. While his stats don't stand out incredibly from an average middle-to-back-end starter in a rotation, it is worthwhile to extend him a little bit of a shoutout to highlight what he did this year.
Rookie of the Year Award Results:
Being announced on MLB Network at 6:00 PM (EST), stick with us as we provide some thoughts and the results of the award voting by the BBWAA! (The IBWAA voting results were announced last week.)
American League: Julio Rodriguez (148 Points), Adley Rutschman (68), Steven Kwan (44)
National League: Michael Harris II (134 Points), Spencer Strider (103), Brandon Donovan (22)
American League: Julio Rodriguez (337 Points), Adley Rutschman (181), Steven Kwan (45)
National League: Michael Harris II (277 Points), Spencer Strider (261), Brandon Donovan (38)
And again, I have picked a terrible time to order, go out and get, and then eat dinner. Though, maybe tonight wasn't a bad one.
It's now 6:50 PM and they just announced Julio Rodriguez as the AL ROY. I wonder what they spent the last 50 minutes talking about. These award shows need to get better.
Looking around, it seems we have another hour to announce the NL ROY? Jeez I hope not. I have things I have to get done tonight. I hope the NL announcement comes soon.
Regardless, the BBWAA and IBWAA (and me) have the same Top-3 in the American League and there is no other way it should've been. Credit to all 3 finishers, this was a very tough year for these young ballplayers. They each have a great future ahead of them and this will not be the only awards they'll be considered for/win in the future.
Wow...another hour has finished. I got nothing done in that time.
Congrats to Michael Harris, though I had Spencer Strider winning. Harris received 22 of 30 votes for 1st place. Strider got the other 8.
If I was a voter, I would've been the only guy to vote for Lars Nootbaar. Huh. Totally misread that situation then. Still, I'm happy with my ballot.
Yet again, another agreement between the BBWAA and IBWAA.