As I'm sure most of you are already aware, earlier today the Baseball Writers' Association of America announced its winners of the 2011 Rookie of the Year awards. The American League winner was not Michael Pineda or Dustin Ackley, nor was it expected to be, given Pineda's second half and Ackley's arrival in the middle of June. This story is such a priority for me that I'm writing about it now even though the winners were announced at 11 in the morning, and even though writing about baseball is my job. Still, I might as well address it with some words, but not too many of them.
Pineda finished fifth in the voting, with zero first-place votes. Ackley finished sixth in the voting, with one first-place vote. Mark Trumbo finished second in the voting, with more first-place votes* than he had walks in April, June, July, or September.
Why this is good news
This isn't really good news, and there's not a convincing case to be made that it is, but you could argue that Pineda or Ackley might have cost the Mariners more down the road had one of them won the award. It's just another thing that the player would've had on his resume, and just another thing the player's agent might have brought up to try and get more money. Now we don't have to worry about that, not that any one of us was worrying about that.
Why this is bad news
Well it would've been nice to see a Mariner win the award, especially given that both Pineda and Ackley were deserving. Pineda finished tops among AL rookies in Fangraphs' WAR, while Ackley tied for second. Pineda broke camp with the roster and pitched his ass off for most of the season, and the RoY would've been neat recognition for both him and the organization. Additionally, the voting results suggest that the BBWAA is still married to ERA and W/L, which, okay, future awards.
Why this is irrelevant news
It's the Rookie of the Year, which is an individual award, and I don't even think Pineda or Ackley are too broken up over the results given that I doubt either expected to win. Furthermore, the Rookie of the Year voting is done based on past results, rather than on projected future results, and it's those projected future results we really care about. It's also those projected future results that allow Pineda and Ackley to stand out.
Jeremy Hellickson won the 2011 AL Rookie of the Year, but his numbers do not project that well for the future. Mark Trumbo finished second, but his numbers do not project that well for the future. Pineda and Ackley's numbers project very well for the future. Pineda is a high-strikeout, low-walk starting pitcher, while Ackley is an on-base second baseman with some power and average-to-plus defense.
Nevermind the award voting; in Michael Pineda and Dustin Ackley, the Seattle Mariners graduated two of 2011's best-looking rookies when it comes to future value. That's what's really important. This past season, Michael Pineda and Dustin Ackley established themselves as members of the Mariners' core. This is a developing core that could eventually take the Mariners to great heights.
Congratulations to Jeremy Hellickson on winning himself some hardware. The unattractive young man posted an impressively low ERA that was only in part due to a terrific team defense behind him. I'm happy with our guys.