It’s hard to imagine a rookie pitcher these days having the impact that Jeremy Hellickson did for the Tampa Bay Rays this year. He was second on the team in wins and ERA. He pitched in 29 games and threw 189 innings. After July first, he was 6-3, as he helped the Rays battle their way to the AL wild card. All of these things led me to vote for him as the Fansided AL rookie of the year. My peers, however, disagreed and instead the award went to Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer.
Was I suffering from Rays bias? I don’t think so. I talked to several people not affiliated with the Rays in any way and they felt like it was a very close race between Hosmer, Hellickson and Mark Trumbo, but Hellickson got their votes as well. Looking at the numbers, I felt like Trumbo would have been the better choice over Hosmer. Hosmer had an outstanding year, batting close to .300 and driving in 78. Trumbo batted just .254, but had 29 homers to go with 87 RBI and 31 doubles.
All three of these players were impressive, as was Ivan Nova for the New York Yankees. It seemed like the vote was really split amongst these players and Hellickson just didn’t get enough first place votes to finish at the top. Breaking into the American League as a pitcher is incredibly difficult and Hellickson responded in every way for the Rays. He was in the top ten in the AL in ERA, quality starts percentage and hits per nine innings pitched. And he did all of this for a team that found its way into the playoffs. Hopefully, this is not a foreshadowing of the official rookie of the year voting. Hellickson had a tremendous year for a rookie pitcher and it would be great to see him rewarded for that performance.