Sep 25, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu (79) hits a single against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
As the Major League Baseball General Managers Meetings get underway in Phoenix today, the GMs will have to share the spotlight with the announcement of the big individual award winners over the next three days. The hardware handout starts today, when the Rookie of the Year is awarded in both the American League and the National League. Here’s what to expect.
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Finalists: Jose Abreu, 1B/DH, Chicago White Sox; Matt Shoemaker, SP, Los Angeles Angels; Dellin Betances, RP, New York Yankees
How They Stack Up: This discussion is pretty simple, thanks to the huge numbers put up by Abreu in his first season outside Cuba — he hit 35 home runs with 107 RBI while slashing .317/.383/.581. Had a mid-season injury not slowed him, Abreu might be the proud owner of the all-time rookie homer record.
Shoemaker and/or Betances might be able to snag a couple of votes due to their larger markets and higher-profile teams, along with Abreu’s advanced age for a rookie (27), but the ChiSox star really should take the ROY in unanimous fashion.
Prediction: Abreu wins in a landslide.
Finalists: Billy Hamilton, CF, Cincinnati Reds; Jacob DeGrom, SP, New York Mets; Kolten Wong, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals
How They Stack Up: It was a tale of two halves for Hamilton, who barreled into the season with all the publicity and improved at the plate every month from April through July but then struggled after the All-Star break to finish with a .656 OPS and 56 steals in 79 attempts. You can at least partially blame the Reds team collapse and GM Walt Jocketty’s failure to bring in help for Hamilton’s poor stretch run, as he was one of the few regulars who stayed on the field through the gory summer.
While Hamilton was faltering, DeGrom was picking up steam for the Mets, crafting a 9-6 record with a 2.69 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 140.1 innings. Plus, he plays for the Mets, which only helps his exposure.
Prediction: An award that Hamilton once had in his grasp and was then up for grabs will go to DeGrom fairly handily.