Although voting for the rookie of the year has to be submitted well before the postseason begins, both of this year’s winners played like veterans through October. Texas Rangers rookie closer Neftali Feliz and San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey were announced as the American League and National League Rookie of the Year Award winners today.
Neftali Feliz ranked third in the American League in saves. Feliz ended the season with rookie record 40 saves, while giving up just just 3 blown saves. In 69 1/3 innings Feliz struck out 71 batters and walked a mere 18. Feliz helped the Rangers into the franchise’s very first World Series this year. In the postseason Feliz recorded another save and struck out 11 batters in just 7 1/3. Feliz grabbed 20 first place votes out of a possible 28.
San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey grabbed National League Rookie of the Year honors. He ended the year with a .305 batting average, 18 home runs and 67 runs batted in. Posey was equally impressive on the defensive side with a caught stealing percentage of .371, giving up just one passed ball on the season. Posey was a key in the San Francisco Giants success, leading the team passed a handful of tough teams in both the regular season and the postseason. Posey was given 20 out of a possible 32 first place votes.
This year marks the first time since 1981 that both Rookie of the Year Award winners met in the World Series. Then it was Dave Righetti while with the New York Yankees and Fernando Valenzuela of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Righetti ironically is the current pitching coach for the Giants.
Look for Buster Posey on an upcoming Eastbay catalog cover soon.
Just like every year the 2009-2010 NBA rookie class has had its share of ups and downs, most definitely surprises. After the NBA Draft in the last off-season, the two players that most expected to be in the running for the 2010 Rookie of the Year at the end of this year, are nowhere to be seen. Instead of the top two picks, big men Blake Griffin and Hasheem Thabeet, being the top two performers out of the rookie class, a trio of guards stepped up into the limelight.
Brandon Jennings of Milwaukee, and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, both had incredible years and both players had great numbers. Curry finished with 17.5 points per game, 5.9 assists per game, and 1.9 steals per game but the Warriors still finished with four less wins than the 2008-2009 season.
Brandon Jennings dropped 55 against Curry and the Warriors early in the season, becoming the youngest player to ever score 55 points in a game. Brandon’s season efforts netted the Bucks an additional 11 wins compared to last year’s totals. To his credit, Jennings is still carrying the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2010 NBA Playoffs.
This year’s Rookie of the Year Award took one of the greatest rookie season’s in the history of the NBA. One that casts, this year’s winner, Tyreke Evans of the Sacramento Kings in a group that carries only three other players. Three players that are undoubtedly some of the greatest to ever play in the NBA.
Only Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James had ever averaged the elusive 20-5-5 in their rookie year, but now you can add Tyreke Evans to that list. Evans led all rookies with 20.1 points per game, finished second in assists with 5.8 per game, and fifth in rebounds with 5.3 per game. Not a bad accomplishment for your first year in the league. The future is definitely brighter in Sacramento now.
With the NBA regular season coming to a close, there is a lot of talk of who will win what in this year’s awards. A few of the awards that everyone is anxiously awaiting to see who wins include Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, and Defensive Player of the Year, among others. There has even been a little bit of “controversy” in the last couple days due to some of the league’s biggest names, or biggest name rather, in LeBron James, sitting out. With everything wrapped up in terms of home court advantage for the Cavs, and other stars like Chris Bosh and Brandon Roy getting injured recently, maybe LeBron and the Cavs have the right idea.
Regardless of whether LeBron is wrong for sitting out while being healthy enough to play, “King James” is definitely one of the favorites to take home this year’s MVP award. If James wins the Most Valuable Player award, it would make him the first to take home back-to-back honors since Steve Nash in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons. Lakers fans likely have an uphill battle in getting their voices heard for their superstar guard Kobe Bryant, in large part due to an ankle injury mid-season, but that doesn’t mean the media might not vote the 2008 MVP winner into contention.
A few other players that had MVP quality seasons are Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard. Durant led the league in scoring, and his Oklahoma City Thunder to their first winning season since the team moved to Oklahoma City in 2008. While Dwight Howard is a candidate for MVP, he’s likely the undeniable Defensive Player of the Year. Howard leads the league in both blocked shots and rebounds. Denver’s Carmelo Anthony also had one of his best seasons, leading the Nuggets to the top of the Northwest Division.
As far as newcomers to the league this season, there are a trio of rookies that seem to stand out when it comes to exceeding expectations. Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings has played in every game so far and leads the Bucks in both steals and assists, not to mention a few early season scoring explosions. Jennings also put on a scoring clinic in the early part of the season, dropping in 55 points against fellow ROY candidate Stephen Curry. Curry not only leads the Golden State Warriors in assists, but also stepped up with his first career triple-double in early February.
The final candidate that is most likely in the running for the Rookie of the Year award is Sacramento Kings point guard Tyreke Evans. Evans leads the Kings in points, assists and steals. However, his most impressive stat may be the one that lands him in the same company as some of the legends of the NBA. Tyreke will finish the season averaging over 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists, making him the first to do so since LeBron James in 2003-04. Only two other players have done the same, hall-of-fame members Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson.
Last year’s Sixth Man of the Year, Manu Ginobili, is a strong candidate for a repeat in the award that honors the best player off the bench. Ginobili has averaged over 16 points a game and nearly 5 assists per game. However, Hawks guard Jamal Crawford has had one of the best seasons of his career, averaging 18 points a game in his first year in Atlanta. Coming off the bench in the ATL, Crawford has continued his habit of hitting game winning shots, adding another to his list this year by hitting a 28-footer to beat the Suns in January.
Although the awards are voted on by the media, we figured we’d give our Eastbay readers a chance to voice their opinion before the award winners are officially announced. Let us know who your choice would be for the MVP, Rookie of the Year, Sixth Man Award, Defensive Player of the Year, or any others we may have missed in the comment section below.
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