The 2011 award season continues as Fansided.com has given out its next set of hardware, the Rookie of the Year awards. Kansas City first baseman Eric Hosmer and Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel stood out among a talented crop of rookies and gave the Royals and Braves, as well as the rest of the MLB, a glimpse at two promising futures. Read more on the standout pair, as well as Fansided’s full voting results, following the jump.
Hosmer, who turns 22 later this month, arrived in Kansas City in early May and immediately gave Royal fans an exciting look at what should be in store for the next decade. Widely regarded as baseball’s top minor league system in terms of prospects, Kansas City showed no qualms about putting Hosmer (.293/.334/.465) in the middle of their order. The big lefty finished the year with 19 homers and 78 RBI. At 21, he is already 1.7 wins above replacement level first-sackers.
In Atlanta the retirement of Billy Wagner left the Braves with questions in the bullpen coming into 2011. Those questions quickly evaporated like Craig Kimbrel’s explosive plus-fastball. The 23-year-old grabbed the closer role by the throat and shook it mercilessly throughout the season, allowing it to finally come up for air in late September when manager Fredi Gonzalez ran his version of the Nasty Boys into the ground. Kimbrel spearhead the baby Braves bullpen who, along with fellow first-timers Jonny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty, led the NL in strikeouts-per-nine-innings among relievers and significantly shortened the game for Atlanta starters. Kimbrel’s SO/9 (14.9) was second only to the Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen among relievers with at least 50 IP. Kimbrell set a rookie record with 46 saves in 54 chances.
Hosmer (67 points) edged out Rays’ rookie Jeremy Hellickson (60 pts) in Fansided’s AL vote. Angels slugger Mark Trumbo finished third (41 pts). Kimbrel netted 92 points in the NL vote. Brave teammate Freddie Freeman finished a distant second (56 pts).
Topics: Atlanta Braves, Billy Wagner, Craig Kimbrel, Eric Hosmer, Eric O'Flaherty, Freddie Freeman, Jeremy Hellickson, Jonny Venters, Kansas City Royals, Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Angels, Mark Trumbo, Nasty Boys, Rookie Of The Year