Jackson finishes second in AL Rookie balloting

Austin Jackson will have to settle for the respect of his peers among American League rookies. The Tigers center fielder finished as the runner-up to Rangers closer Neftali Feliz in balloting for the AL Rookie of the Year award.

Jackson did not respond Monday to an email from MLB.com seeking comment.
The results, released Monday, came after Jackson topped Feliz last month for AL rookie honors among The Sporting News and MLB Players Choice awards. Both awards were based on player balloting.

In the end, though, members of the Baseball Writers Association of America valued Feliz’s contribution to on a division champion over Jackson’s all-around game for the .500 Tigers. Feliz took 20 of the 28 first-place votes, with Jackson taking the rest along with 19 second-place votes and one third-place nod.

Fellow Tigers outfielder Brennan Boesch, a strong contender at midseason before he fell into a second-half slump, garnered three second third-place votes to finish tied for fifth.

Jackson still ended up with the best finish by a Tigers position player since Lou Whitaker won the award in 1978. Justin Verlander remains the last Tiger to win the award in 2006.

In a year when few American League teams had rookies last the entire season in meaningful roles — remember when another Tigers outfielder, Brennan Boesch, was a midseason sensation — the choice essentially came down to Jackson or Feliz. While Jackson’s supporters could argue he had more of an impact as an everyday player, Feliz had the advantage of tangible results for a contending team.

11 Comments

I don’t put much stock in these awards (oh no, I sound like Leyland!) and this is a good reason why. Jackson won the important vote, that of his peers. Obviously to win a BWAA vote, your team needs to be playoff contenders. I also prefer the player who is in there every single day. Case in point, the Rangers played nearly the entire WS without using Feliz. Feliz also pitched in 20 games in 2009 so he doesn’t meet my criteria as a true rookie. I also choose Jason Heyward in the NL because he played the entire season, but I’m somewhat biased there too because I saw him play so many games in spring training.
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But like I said (I sound like Leyland again!), I’ve never cared for individual awards in a team sport.
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–Rich

The writers miss this one and the players certainly had it right. You cannot give the award to Feliz based on his team winning the division. Jackson played in 81 more games and 1,187 more innings. A position player that hits close to .300, plays everyday with stellar defense and has all the other numbers he had has to win rookie of the year over a closer.
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Mark

I watched a lot of Rangers baseball this year and have to say Feliz’s performance turned around the whole bullpen which early on was becoming a basketcase blowing games. Amazing how one pitcher’s performance in a key role lifts those around him to where they became one of the best AL bullpens.
I could not believe Boesch received some 2nd place votes – he actually got three 3rd place votes.

That saves me. Thanks for being so sbensile!

Fixed — three third-place votes. Thanks for catching that. I kicked that one pretty good.

To be fair to the voting writers, Jackson is one of those guys that you have to see everyday to appreciate him. MLB Network ran “75 Greatest Catches” the other night. Darned entertaining show, but I lost count of how many of those spectacular diving plays Austin would have run down without leaving his feet.
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In case anyone is wondering, Granderson did show up at #10 for his over the fence grab off Willy Mo Pena in 2007, and his “it’s gone, no it isn’t” catch in Cleveland in 2009 was also included.
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–Rich

“Rookie runner-up” is what my local news station is calling him. They showed one of his spectacular catches and, one of my personal favorites, the first pitch HR off Sabathia in NY. Never heard a crowd get so quiet.

Not shocking that they picked Feliz – as I am sure they will pick Hamilton as well for the MVP. A big whatever – like you Rich I don’t put a lot of stock in the validity of the awards. Heck Jeter won a gold glove when everyone know there are a half a dozen better shortstops than him. (Andrus Elvis) should of won that one hands down, I even could of gotten behind Alexi Casilla.
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But I also think you are right about something else – and I noticed all year long – looking at the web gems, they value a catch that a guy has to dive and role around to get, when we all know that Jackson would of made the same catch, just because he got there.
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GK

Young sensational back end of the bullpen relievers perform well every year as rookies. What Feliz did this year will be repeated by another rookie next year, in way, his performance was in no way special. Big arms that throw hard are a dime a dozen. Off the top of my head here’s some great rookie year closers/setup men of recent past: Paplebum, Chamberlain, Zumaya, Street and Bailey (both of whom won the award).

Jackson played everyday, batted lead off, played gold glove caliber defense at critical defensive position, scored over a hundred runs; and Feliz won the award over Jackson for two simple reasons: individual awards are based on a teams success and throwing 100+ mph is sexy.

Good point iitt. In the end the Tigers, and we Tiger fans, have the “most valuable rookie” if not the “ROY”. I mean if the voters were asked to pick between AJ or Feliz to play on their team, you might have a different preference outcome. I know who I’d chose in a heartbeat. I feel badly for AJ because I think it IS an important award and I think he deserves it. You only get one shot. I think the position player should get the nod especially if he plays the game like AJ. So in our hearts you’re the Rookie of the Year AJ.
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Not to take anything away from Feliz. From what I saw of him he was a tremendous rookie closer. And you have to have a pitcher to play the game. The pitch is the catalyst. But what happens AFTER the ball is pitched is what makes the game. Of course you could make a case for a special personality like Mark Fidrych almost transcending the game itself…..but there will never be another like him. I’m rambling but I make my case for the position player.

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