Legends On Deck

Checking In: 2014 AL Rookie of the Year

What makes baseball so great, other than the sights and sounds and history etc… is the ability to go back and see what players are up to, or what they’ve done since winning an award.  With statistics available at our fingertips all the way back until the beginning of the sport, we are able to keep track of any player from any era.

To get this all started, I decided to just take a quick glance back at the top five vote getters in the 2014 American League Rookie of the Year voting.  I wanted to see how they responded after being in the forefront of the game when the season ended last year.

Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox – It wasn’t very difficult for voters to decide who should win the 2014 AL Rookie of the Year.  Receiving all 30 first place votes, Abreu ran away with the competition and for good reason.  The Cuban defector burst onto the scene making many GM’s upset they didn’t win the bid for his services.  All he did in 2014 was have a batting average of .317, hit 36 home runs, drove in 107, made the American League All-Star team, finished fourth in the Most Valuable Player voting, and won a Silver Slugger Award.

So far this season in 25 games, he is hitting .278 with five home runs and 16 RBI.  Not quite the pace he was on last season, but still decent numbers.  It would be pretty hard to duplicate what he did last season, but baseball has a funny way of working itself out in the end, so we will just have to see.

Matt Shoemaker, Los Angeles Angels – Shoemaker finished second in the voting last season.  He appeared in 27 games, starting 20 of them, and ended the season with a record of 16-4 with an ERA of 3.04.  He didn’t have nearly the amount of fanfare in regions other than the one he was pitching in, and had a great season quietly.

So far this season, Shoemaker has pitched in five games.  He has a record of 2-2 with an ERA of 5.40 in 28.1 innings of work.  The season is still very early and if he stays healthy he will make another 25 starts or more, so there is time to get back to where he was.

Dellin Betances, New York Yankees – Being a relief pitcher is no easy task.  It comes with struggles probably just as frequent as a hitter since you may be called on to pitch a few days in a row.  There is no time to dwell on the past and you need to get to work and get the job done.  Betances made it to the major leagues two other times prior to staying there last season.  Both previous were nothing really to write home about.  2014, on the other hand, surely was.  Betances made 70 appearances out of the bullpen to the tune of a 5-0 record.  His ERA was minimal at 1.40 but his strikeouts were abundant with 135 in 90 innings.

So far this season, Betances has appeared in a league-high 15 games and has a record of 3-0.  He has yet to allow an earned run and even has a higher K/9 rate then he did last season.  The Yankees are lucky to have him and he certainly has picked up where he left off.

Collin McHugh, Houston Astros – McHugh spent time in the majors as a member of the New York Mets before becoming an Astro.  He had very little success until the change to the southern part of the country.  Last season in Houston, McHugh compiled a record of 11-9 in 25 starts with an ERA of 2.73.  His success earned him a spot in the rotation in 2015.

So far this season, McHugh and the surprising Astros are off to a great start.  He has made six starts and has a record of 4-0 with an ERA of 3.23.  He hasn’t lost and the Astros seem to win all of the games he starts which makes for a great combination.

Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees – The Japanese import dazzled in his limited action last season.  Injuries forced him to miss some time and when it was all said and done he made 20 starts last season.  His record of 13-5 was impressive and so was his 2.77 ERA.  He recorded 141 strikeouts in 136.1 innings and was named to the American League All-Star team.

So far this season, Tanaka made four starts for the Yankees before heading to the DL.  He has a 2-1 record with an ERA of 3.22.

The next part in this will take a look on the National League side to find out what type of follow up season they are having.


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John Ginder
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