Awards season has arrived. Unfortunately, I don’t have a vote on any of the awards, so I have to reveal my choices here. So, dear readers, consider this a You’re Not a Golfer Exclusive!
I’ll do one every day or so, sometimes with more comment (NL MVP, Cy Young), sometimes with less (AL Manager).
Rookie of the Year is the first award announced, so it’s the first one I’ll weigh in on. It’s only a three-name ballot.
Here’s how I’d go in the NL.
1. Ryan Howard — I know he only had 312 at-bats. He was just a beast even so. A 288/356/567 line is awesome, as is 22 homers in 312 at-bats.
2. Jeff Francoeur — Just like Howard, it’s not the number of ABs, it’s what he did with them. Francoeur smacked 35 extra-base hits and slugged .549. I’ll take that.
3. Zach Duke — And another in the same category. Brilliance in a small period of time, to me, outweighs being decent over 500 at-bats or 150 innings.
I know most Cardinal fans would probably vote for Willy Taveras, after seeing so much of him. And if Taveras ever starts drawing some walks to improve on that OBP (.325 as a leadoff man? ouch), or adds some extra-base hits a la Carl Crawford, he’ll be something special. But for now, a guy with a line of 291/325/341 doesn’t impress me even if he gets 700 at-bats.
One other note on Taveras: some advanced metrics have ranked him as an excellent center fielder, but he never looks good when I watch him. He can fly, but he always looks like he takes bad routes to balls. I’d love to hear what people think of him defensively.