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BBA Texas Chapter votes Hellickson for Willie Mays Award

The American League saw some great rookie performances this year. I know I saw plenty in the AL  West -- Mark Trumbo, Jordan Walden, Michael Pineda, Dustin Ackley.  I expect all of those players to give my Rangers nightmares for years to come.  Despite that, none of them earned a spot on my ballot for the Willie Mays Award, which is designated for the top rookie in each league.

I have a weak spot for native Iowan Jeremy Hellickson.  My Rangers fared well against him, but the Iowa kid had a great rookie season in Tampa Bay. He started 29 games and finished 13-10 with a 2.95 ERA.  Under 3.00 is pretty dang good, rookie or not.  He struck out 117 and walked 72.  If he can get that ratio down, he is going to be a very powerful weapon for the Rays.

The Royals fans I know definitely enjoyed the call-up of Eric Hosmer.  He wasted no time living up to the buzz he'd created in the minors either.  He finished the season with a batting average of .293 and an OPS of .799.  He hit 19 HR and drove in 78 runs.

Ivan Nova hit a bump mid-season that got him demoted, but it didn't do much to tarnish his year.  He started 27 games and finished with a 16-4 record and a 3.70 ERA.  He struck out 98 and walked just 57 in 165 innings.  He was a pretty bright spot for the Yankees rotation, and it's easy to see why fans dubbed him "SuperNova."

I really have to give an honorable mention to Michael Pineda.  He is a formidable pitcher, setting up a crazy one-two punch in the Seattle rotation.  He pitched 171 innings and finished with a 3.74 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP.  He walked just 55 while striking out 173.  Unbelievable.  They had to ease up on his innings in the second half of the season, so just wait until he goes a whole season strong. 

Again, 40-year Ranger Fan weighed in on this award. We agreed on the first two and were split on the last one, so our combined ballot comes out like this:

1:  Jeremy Hellickson (TB)

2.  Eric Hosmer (KC)

3 (TIE):  Ivan Nova (NYY) and Mark Trumbo (LAA)


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