On we go to the Best new player of the season - yes it's time to rank the Top Rookies the American League for the BBA's Willie Mays Rookie Award. Here are my picks...
#1 - WINNER - Austin Jackson (Detroit Tigers) Austin, in my opinion, mastered the one thing that is crucial for a rookie who wants to take top prize - consistency. Austin played in nearly every game this season and finished up with 578 AB, 173 hits, 36 RBI and scored 96 Runs on a .299 BA. While most rookies hit a hot spot then fizzle, or slow to start and bring it home in the end, Austin was consitent all season. When faced with a slump at the plate he had the dedication and concentration to pull himself out before his struggle turned into a tailspin. Austin Jackson took home the Rookie of the Month award in April.
#2 - Neftali Feliz (Texas Rangers) this selection goes against all I believe when handing out awards, pitchers have their own award so I dont think they should be eligible for this one. But the season Feliz had is not to be overlooked. Feliz finished the regular season with 49 saves, 97 innings pitched, 25 balls and only 27 runs given up while holding a 2.50 ERA. The only reason I cannot give him the top billing for this award is that although he was consistently good, he did not appear in as many games as Jackson. There is a drastic difference between playing 9 innings batting and fielding vs throwing for 3 outs. I just don't think he had enough on field time to take the top spot. Neftali Feliz took home the Rookie of the Month award in September.
#3 Brennan Boesch (Detroit Tigers) ok, its a coincidence that I picked two Tigers. Favorite team aside, the Tigers paraded a pethora of rookies around the diamond all season long. Brennan came on like a shot hitting anything that was thrown in his general direction. But post all star break, Boesch couldnt hit his way out of a paper bag for over two months. Brennan finished the season with 443 AB, 114 hits, 35 RBI's and scored 45 runs on a .257 BA. If Boesch would have held out with half the power and dominance he showed in the first half he would have been top candidate for this award; however, the consistency just wasn't there. Boesch was the Rookie of the Month in May and June.