The American League Rookie of the Year honors were awarded to Tampa Bay’s Jeremy Hellickson today after 29 starts posting a 13-10 record with a 2.95 ERA. Hellickson beat out the likes of teammate Desmond Jennings, Angels slugger Mark Trumbo and all-star closer Jordan Walden, Royals first baseman Eric Kosmer, Seattle phenom Michael Pineda and light hitting second baseman Dustin Ackley and Yankees starter Ivan Nova.
The Super Nova became the number two starter behind ace CC Sabathia this season as Phil Hughes struggled with injuries, Bartolo Colon faltered down the stretch, Freddy Garcia was predictably mediocre and AJ Burnett showed flashes of brilliance amidst of a steady stream of awful performances. Nova recorded 16 wins and only four losses with a 3.70 ERA. The right-hander finished fourth in the voting despite the second best WAR (3.6) and the best winning percentage among the other pitchers.
Nova received only one first place vote and got the most third place votes with 10. He showed a lot of growth in the season as he learned how to get deeper into games and won his first playoff appearance coming in to replace Sabathia after the game one rain out. Nova pitched 6.1 innings giving up two runs as the Yankees picked up the win 9-3. Nova was called upon again in game five, but was largely ineffective and forced to leave the game after only two innings with a forearm injury.
The Bombers will look for Nova to be a big piece of the rotation behind Sabathia, who recently re-upped with the club, as Hughes and Burnett remain question marks going into the off season. Fortunately for the Yanks, Nova’s forearm injury does not require surgery and should not force him to miss any time next season. Whether or not Nova was the best rookie on the AL side, he certainly deserved recognition. The award isn’t a guarantee of future success and all those who received votes look to build great careers upon their rookie season. For the Yanks they hope there is no sophomore slump with the Super Nova.
A quick note on the NL side: Closer Craig Kimbrel of the Atlanta Braves was the unanimous choice for Rookie of the Year honors in the National League. There was a strong crop from the NL East including Braves teammate Freddie Freeman, Phillies starter Vance Worely and a pair from Washington, Wilson Ramos and Danny Espinosa, made up five of the top seven in the NL. However, the Mets failed to have a rookie make the list.
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