Back in the middle of September I was assigned the task of predicting who would win the rookie of the year awards. Now two months later the winners were announced, Oakland A’s reliever Andrew Bailey in the American League and Florida Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan. I had predicted Rockies outfielder Dexter Fowler in the NL and Rangers SS Elvis Andrus in the AL.
In 2008 the A’s converted Bailey from a starter to a reliever in AA Ball in 2008. Andrew immediately experienced success in the bullpen, carrying that success over into the 2008 Arizona Fall League, and on into the 2009 regular big league season. He finished the season with 26 of 30 saves, a 6-3 record, a 1.84 ERA, with 91 strikeouts & 49 hits allowed in 83′ innings, and was Oakland’s lone All Star representative.
Chris Coghlan also enjoyed a conversion that enabled him to star in the big leagues, the former infielder was moved to leftfield. He brought his bat out to the outfield with him, batting .321 with a .390 OBP, with 31 doubles, 6 triples, & 9 home runs, as the Marlins leadoff hitter.
Elvis Andrus, my choice for AL Rookie of the Year, the Rangers 21 year old shortstop out of Venezuela, finished 2nd in the balloting behind Bailey. Elvis batted .267, with 33 stolen bases, 72 runs scored, & 128 base hits, with a very impressive range factor in the field of 4.86. Right on the heels of Andrus was Detroit’s 20 year old righthanded starting pitcher Rick Porcello (14-9 & 3.96 ERA). The 6’9″ Tampa Bay’s righthander, Jeff Niemann (13-6 & 3.94) was next, he was 17-0 with a 1.70 ERA as a Junior in 2003 with Rice. Then came The Sporting News choice for Rookie of the Year, the White Sox very own, thirdbaseman Gordon Beckham (.270, 28 doubles, 14 homers, 63 RBIs). Rounding out this crop of AL rookies was another pitcher from Oakland, southpaw Brett Anderson (11-11, 4.06 ERA, & 150 strikeouts in 175′ IP).
Closely behind Coghlan, over in the Senior Circuit, was The Sporting News choice for NL Rookie of the Year out of the University of Northwestern in Evanston, IL, Philadelphia’s lefthander J.A. Happ (12-4 & 2.93). A distant 3rd was Atlanta’s phenom righthanded starting pitcher Tommy Hanson (11-4, 2.89, & 116 K’s in 127″ IP). The Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen wasn’t far in back of Hanson, batting .286, 26 doubles, 9 triples, 12 homers, 74 runs scored, to go along with 22 steals, while playing a very good centerfield for the Buccos. Next up the Brewers thirdbaseman Casey McGehee received some love, .301, 20 doubles, 16 homers, & 66 RBIs. Interestingly six other rookies received very little support in their quest for league’s top rookie honors. They were Randy Wells of the Cubs (12-10 & 3.05), Pittsburgh slugger Garrett Jones (21 HRs & .293), Padres SS Everth Cabrera (25 SBs & 59 runs), my choice Dexter Fowler Colorado outfielder (73 runs, 27 SBs, 29 2Bs, & 10 3Bs), Diamondbacks outfielder Gerardo Parra (.290, 21 2Bs, 8 3Bs, 60 RBIs), and last, but not least, Cardinals centerfielder Colby Rasmus (22 2Bs & 16 HRs).