Awards and More Awards
On the day before Veterans' Day, the Baseball Writers Association of America announced its Rookie of the Year Awards. Third baseman Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays and catcher Geovany Soto of the Chicago Cubs were named the American League and National League Rookies of the Year for the 2008 season.
Longoria and Soto received 59 of the 60 first place votes with the former becoming the AL's first unanimous winner since Nomar Garciaparra in 1997. Longoria and Garciaparra both prepped at St. John Bosco in Bellflower, California. Longoria is also the second Long Beach State Dirtbag (the other being Bobby Crosby in 2004) to earn AL ROY honors in the past five years. Longoria's college teammate, Troy Tulowitzki, finished second in the NL ROY balloting last year.
This year's AL Rookie of the Year played in the All-Star Game and the World Series, made all the more remarkable by the fact that he began the season in the minors and spent more than a month on the disabled list. Longoria (.272/.343/.531) had 60 extra-base hits, including 27 HR, in just 122 games and 508 plate appearances. He also slugged six homers in the postseason but struck out 20 times in 62 at-bats while going 1-for-20 with no BB or XBH in the World Series.
Soto (.285/.364/.504) was the first rookie catcher to start an All-Star Game for the National League. He also played in the postseason, going 2-for-11 in a three-game sweep at the hands of the Dodgers. The native of San Juan, Puerto Rico gave a glimpse of what was to become when he hit .389/.433/.667 in 18 games and 60 plate appearances in 2007.
The AL and NL Cy Young Awards will be announced this week. Rob Neyer goes into detail breaking down the candidates in both leagues, while providing a link to the Cy Young Predictor as developed by Bill James. Neyer sees Cliff Lee narrowly beating Francisco Rodriguez in the AL and looks for Tim Lincecum to edge out Brandon Webb and Johan Santana in the NL.
Like Neyer, I would go with Lee and either Lincecum or Santana with a slight preference for the Giants righthander. In addition to Webb, look for Brad Lidge and C.C. Sabathia to round out the top five in the NL. Roy Halladay is a lock to finish in the top three in the AL (although, for my money, he should place a solid second and much closer to first than third).
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Update (11/11/08): NL Cy Young Award goes to Lincecum
Update (11/13/08): Lee wins 2008 AL Cy Young Award