It was an excellent rookie season for Phillies surprise starter Vance Worley.
But was his 10-3 record and 3.01 ERA enough to topple Atlanta’s two incredible rookies? That answer was a no.
In a unanimous decision, Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel took home the National League Rookie of the Year award with first baseman Freddie Freeman finishing second. As for the Phillies starting pitcher, a bronze medal was awarded for his surprisingly stellar season.
The battle was between apples, oranges and pears. It’s not often you see a starting pitcher, closer and offensive force all make top three cases for the rookie honors.
Kimbrel set a major league record among rookie closers with 46 saves. He finished the season with a 2.10 ERA and 127 strikeouts in 77 innings for Atlanta.
The Braves missed the playoffs, mainly due to poor play in the closing two months while the eventual champion Cardinals replaced them as the Wild Card. The collapse was punctuated when Kimbrel blew his 8th save of the season against the Phillies.
Those eight blown saves, including not coming up big in the team’s most important game of the season, were not enough to unseat Kimbrel from the top spot. He beat out his teammate Freeman, who batted .282 with 21 homers and 76 RBIs.
Tampa Bay’s Jeremy Hellickson won the American League award. The starting pitcher went 13-10 with a 2.95 ERA, ranking eighth in the league in ERA and striking out 117 hitters in 189 innings.