Tourtellotte: A good start: analyzing Rookie of the Year awards

From SABR member Shane Tourtellotte at The Hardball Times on January 6, 2017:

It was a big awards controversy, at least until the actual votes were revealed. The 2016 American League Rookie of the Year race was coming down to two players: Michael Fulmer and Gary Sánchez. Fulmer, of the Detroit Tigers, pitched for five months and 159 innings, posting a 3.06/3.76/3.95 (ERA/FIP/xFIP) slash line that was good if not spectacular. Sánchez, catching for the New York Yankees, played just the last two months (plus one game in May), but his .299/.376/.657 slash line and strong defense were almost spectacular enough to drag his team back into a playoff chase they’d bailed on at the trade deadline.

The question wracked pundits’ brains. When choosing a Rookie of the Year, should a full season of steady goodness win out over two months of meteoric excellence? Partisans of the latter cited how Willie McCovey copped the award with a short rookie campaign almost exactly as long as Sánchez’s. Skeptics, like FanGraphs’s David Laurila, said McCovey lucked out from different qualifying criteria and a weak field. Analysts were preparing to get almost as angry about this as about Mookie Betts’s looming MVP victory over Mike Trout.

As we have seen, funny things can happen when the ballots get counted. Fulmer took 26 of the 30 first-place votes, burying the incipient controversy with his landslide. The Trout affair turned out all right, too.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: January 12, 2017. Last Updated: January 12, 2017.