Giants catcher Buster Posey has won the NL Rookie Of The Year award, and Neil Walker and Jose Tabata of the Pirates both received votes. Finishing behind Posey were Braves outfielder Jason Heyward, Cardinals pitcher Jaime Garcia and Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez, followed by Walker. Tabata received one third-place vote.â†µ
I would have picked Heyward over Posey, but I think the voters basically got this right. Posey was a fine choice, batting .305/.357/.505 with 18 homers. Walker was a good candidate who had a surprisingly good season, but he really doesn't play second base well. It's not his fault his defense there is poor, since he played catcher and third base in the minors, but that does have to figure into the voters' thinking. Posey and Heyward, as top-notch prospects from better teams, probably would have been on the voters' minds even if Walker had been the best defensive second baseman ever, but in this particular case, he probably did deserve to come in about fifth. Eighth also sounds about right for Tabata. Even though neither Walker nor Tabata has the upside of a Heyward or a Posey, it's nice to see two Bucs rookies play their way into the discussion.â†µ
In the American League, Rangers reliever Neftali Feliz won the award. Again, this probably reflects the voters' preference to vote for players from good teams, and I probably would have given my vote to Austin Jackson of the Tigers, who had a good year with the bat and played excellent defense.â†µ
UPDATE 5:13 PM: It turns out that the only reason Walker and Tabata got votes is because Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Dejan Kovacevic put them on his ballot, while leaving out Heyward. There's no reason to gnash teeth over this, since it had no impact on the results, but a lot of people are going to anyway. Kovacevic's ballot is going to be pretty hard to defend, but ironically, it ended up generating a result that I think is fair - Walker and Tabata didn't deserve to win the award, but they did deserve to be on the periphery of the discussion, and Kovacevic's votes put them there.