The Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson and the Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel were named 2011 Rookie of the Year for their respective leagues on Monday afternoon.
Craig Kimbrel received all 32-votes in a unanimous decision for the National League ROY. The closer set a rookie-record for a saves in a season with 46 in 2011. I can only imagine the encore the 2011 all-star has in mind for next season and beyond. With the Braves pitching staff, alongside that offense, Atlanta is going to be contenders for a long time. We all know once Kimbrel comes out in the ninth inning, that game is pretty much wrapped up.
Jeremy Hellickson had more of an up and down season with the Rays, but demonstrated some consistency at the end of the year for the American League ROY. The righty went 13-10 in 2011, with a 2.95 ERA in 189 innings pitched and 29 starts made. Hellickson struck out 117 batters, while walking 72 last season. In his first full season in the big leagues, Hellickson showed people why he was so highly touted. He is going to be an ace sooner rather than later, especially with the staff around him in Florida.
These were two of the better Rookie of the Year candidates Major League Baseball has seen. Both players coming out of the East Divisions is fitting, since the east has a wealth of young talent on the rise in baseball. Hellickson and Kimbrel are the 2011 poster boy’s for the AL and NL East Division’s this season. Who will it be next year?