Posey, Feliz win Rookie of the Year awards; Jackson deserved better

Just heard the news that Buster Posey and Neftali Feliz were landslide winners in the Rookie of the Year balloting. While NL fans will no doubt debate whether Posey deserved the award over Jason Heyward, that's at least an "apples to apples" argument. I think there's more to debate on the AL side, where Austin Jackson deserved a better fate.

Feliz caught the eye of the voters by setting a rookie record for saves (40), plus the Rangers made the playoffs. Both solid accomplishments. But while his pitching ability is impressive, Feliz is a role player. A specialist. That's not a slam, it's a fact. Feliz made 70 appearances and pitched 69.1 innings. The Rangers played 1,455 innings. So Feliz saw action 4.7 percent of the time.

Jackson, on the other hand, played fulltime -- and he played well. He became only the ninth rookie since 1901 to post 100 runs, 170 hits, 30 doubles, 10 triples and 20 stolen bases in the same season. Yes, he struck out 170 times, and the nay-sayers are hanging their hat on that one. But Jackson was given way more opportunity to fail that Feliz was. Jackson had 675 plate appearances and played 1,256 innings of Gold Glove-caliber centerfield. That means he was in on 87 percent of the action.

Plus, Jackson performed at that level while replacing Curtis Granderson, the Tigers most popular player. Who did Feliz replace? Frank Francisco and his 25 saves/3.83 ERA (2009). Not exactly the same size shoes.

Then, just for fun, let's just throw this out there: MLB's idea of a "rookie" is a joke. Feliz pitched in 20 games last year (while Jackson was in the minor leagues), yet he still fell 19 innings short of being considered a rookie. Are you kidding me? According to the rules, you're still a rookie if you pitch less than 50 innings. Non-pitchers get 130 at-bats. Averaging four at-bats a game, a player could play 32 full games and still be considered a rookie the following season. Do you think Jackson would have better or worse in 2010 if he had played fulltime in the majors for an entire month last fall? Come on MLB, how 'bout giving the Rookie of the Year award to an actual rookie?

Either way, Jackson deserved it.


  1. I'm torn on this one.

    Feliz turned in a great season; it was that simple. It's irrelevant who he replaced, and you can debate the rules for rookie. Maybe we should go back and change the Ruth/Maris astrisk rule, or the pop fly rule. Forget debating that stuff. Neftali did some great stuff.

    But Jackson certainly deserved recognition. Tell us, oh member of the ABBWA, can you vote for two candidates?

  2. I go with Jeff on this one. It's like voting a designated hitter as MVP. Any way you look at it, they're a part-timer -- a valuable one, yes; top rookie, no.

  3. I agree with Greg,rules are rules, for example Jimmy Howard was not really a rookie last year, and I think he ended up second in voting for rookie of the year. Felix turned in a great season and deserves the award.

  4. "Ooh, we have a donneybrook!" as Ernie would say.

  5. Gregg lives in Texas so his vote is tainted. I bet Gregg probably is looking forward to Bristol Palin winning Dancing with the Stars too!!
    Jackson got screwed, but so did Galaraga.
    Wonder how Jim Joyce would have voted.

  6. Frank Wanderski, Austin Jackson, George Bush Sr. (and W) Lyndon Johnson, and Stephen F. Austin are also from Texas. Are we all "tainted?"
    It would be a long list of Texans who currently play in the big leagues.
    Remember, Texas (and Hawaii) are the only countries to CHOOSE to join the USA, and by treaty, Texas can split into 5 states any time we want. Oops, there goes the Senate, Democrats! Be careful what you say.

  7. Stop it, kids, or we'll have to send you to your room.s I guess my point is two-fold. Jackson did it on a fulltime basis (and yes, who he replaces DOES matter. Just ask the next Yankees shortstop if he feels added pressure taking over for Jeter. Or ask Rizzs and Rathbun -- those hacks -- if they felt they were judged more severely because they replaced Ernie). My second point is, no matter where you sit in the Feliz vs. Jackson debate, the MLB rules for a rookie are a JOKE.

  8. Oh, and Gregg asked if I vote for the postseason awards. Nope. Only two voters per city (double that for N.Y., Chicago and L.A. because they each have two teams). Those voters are selected by their BBWAA chapters. The only vote I'm guaranteed is Hall of Fame.