Earlier today, Marc Topkin announced that Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson had won Baseball America's prestigious Rookie of the Year award:
...[When] Hellickson strode up the mound, there wasn't any indication he was pitching his first full season in the big leagues. Certainly not the way he handled the supposed pressures of having to face the AL's toughest teams... Not the way he remained remarkably stone-faced on the mound regardless of the predicament. Not the way he managed his way through constantly tight games.
And, most obviously, not the way he pitched, posting a 13-10, 2.95 record with a .210 opponent average and 20 quality starts that were the best of all major league rookies.
Advanced stats indicate Jeremy Hellickson may have actually been striking out fewer batters than he should have, given his ability, but they also suggest Hellickson was no where near as elite as Craig Kimbrel, Michael Pineda, or Brandon Beachy.
Position players like Wilson Ramos and Danny Espinosa also put forth strong counter-arguments in the ROY race. However, giving credit where it's due, Hellboy pitched 4 games against the dreaded New York Yankees (3 of them quality starts), 4 games against the vaulted Boston Red Sox lineup (2 quality starts), and 1 game against both World Series contenders, the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals (both quality starts).
All in all, congratulations are well-due to Jeremy Hellickson, who helped Rays fans say, "Matt Garza who?" and win an exciting Wild Card spot in 2011.