The Baseball Writers Association of America revealed their first two awards today. Mike Trout was the deservedly unanimous Rookie of the Year in the American League, but the NL MVP had a bit more intrigue with multiple worthy candidates.
Bryce Harper won it, but this isn’t a blog about the Washington Nationals. This is a blog for the Milwaukee Brewers so I want to discuss where the top rookies on the Milwaukee Brewers finished in the voting.
First of all, as I expected, Mike Fiers did not receive any consideration for the award. Look, there are only three slots on each ballot and while Fiers had a phenomenal first part to his year (and a solid campaign overall), there were more than three rookies better than he was in 2012 in my opinion.
Obviously the BBWAA members in NL chapters agreed with that assessment.
The assessment that we disagree on is Norichika Aoki.
Aoki came to MLB without much fanfare, significantly less than one might think given his accolades in NPB in Japan. All he did after being put into the daily lineup was produce, leading to several hitting streaks of at least 10 games. His defense was just fine in right field too.
His final numbers, mostly out of the lead off spot, were:
151 G, .288/.355/.433, 588 PA, 520 AB, 81 R, 150 H, 37 2B, 4 3B, 10 HR, 50 RBI, 30 SB, 43 BB, 55 K, 110 OPS+
Ultimately, Aoki finished in fifth place receiving two second-place votes and five third-place votes for a total of 11 points in the scoring system. In all, eight different players received votes for the award. Harper was first with 112 points, Wade Miley finished second with 105 points, Todd Frazier was third with 45 points, and Wilin Rosario of the Rockies finished with 12 points because of (in part) one first-place vote he somehow received.
Regardless of his final position, Aoki becomes just the 20th Milwaukee Brewers player in history to garner votes for Rookie of the Year and that is to be commended and applauded on its own merit.
For the record, Dennis Semrau of the Wisconsin State Journal (MIL Chapter) and Paul White of USA Today (WAS Chapter) gave Aoki his second-place votes. The third-place votes were cast for Aoki by Ken Davidoff of the New York Post (NY Chapter), Keith Law of ESPN.com (AZ Chapter), Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle (HOU Chapter), Hideki Okuda of the Sports Nippon Newspaper (LA Chapter), and El Nuevo Herald’s Luis E. Rangel.
In case you missed the announcement (and tweeting) yesterday of Mark Attanasio’s open letter to Brewers fans, or if you’re like me and you want it to be readily accessible and to make sure you have an archive of it, I’ve posted the letter in its entirety below.
Read, enjoy, and be thankful we have an owner like this:
November 4, 2012
Dear Brewers Fans:
On behalf of everyone at the Milwaukee Brewers, I want to thank you for your tremendous support this year. More than 2.8 million fans attended Brewers home games in 2012, which once again placed us among the top teams in the National League. For the sixth consecutive season, over 2.75 million came through the turnstiles to cheer on the team, making the Brewers one of just nine teams in all of baseball to achieve that consistent level of fan loyalty and passion. It is no wonder that we have the most wins in MLB at home — 106 — over the past two seasons.
While we experienced a number of highs and lows this season, I hope you are as proud as I am of the way our team overcame some significant injuries and fought for the National League Wild Card during the final weeks of the season. We pulled within 1.5 games of the final Wild Card in the playoff chase and played meaningful games through the final weekend — up to Game 159. Earlier in the summer, it didn’t look as if we would reach that point — and I am very encouraged by the tone that our end-of-season performance sets for next season. From August 20, the Brewers finished the season by going 29-13, tied for the best record in baseball with the Oakland A’s over this time frame. I love that both our fans and our players never gave up on this season.
As I take a moment to reflect on this year — where we started and what we are taking with us into 2013 — I see several statistics that are strong positives. We led the National League in three offensive categories: runs scored (776), home runs (202), and stolen bases (158) — a feat last accomplished 16 years ago by the Colorado Rockies. The home run total was the fifth time in Club history that the Crew hit more than 200 homers in a season, a record set in 2007 with 231. On the mound, our pitchers led both leagues with 1,402 strikeouts, falling just two short of an all-time MLB record. On an individual level, Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez were the most potent NL duo in terms of RBIs, totalling 217. Among rookies, Norichika Aoki led or was tied for the lead in many offensive categories, including hits, stolen bases as well as on-base, slugging, and OPS percentages. Yovani Gallardo was tied for second in the NL in Quality Starts, meaning that he pitched six or more innings while yielding three or fewer earned runs, with 25 (76 percent of his starts).
I am also excited by the performance of some of our new and younger talent, as well as by the performance of players we brought up who excelled at the Major League level. These young players assumed key roles during our resurgence, and they did extraordinarily well in pressure situations as we made our push for the Postseason. This is a credit to our Player Development and Scouting staffs under Doug Melvin’s leadership, and through their hard work, we have great reason to be optimistic about the future.
As we look forward to next season, I am also committed to building on the tremendous efforts the Brewers organization and players have made in the community — efforts that you, the fans, have been particularly instrumental in assisting. We specifically would like to thank you for your support of Brewers Community Foundation. With your help, we raised more than $3.2 million this year and provided significant in-kind donations for more than 1,200 area non-profit organizations that focus on health care, education, recreation, and basic needs services. In addition to what you provided, we are proud to say that every single uniformed Brewers player and executive of the Club’s front office staff contributed to Brewers Community Foundation in 2012.
The highlights from this season extended to events off the field as well. In August, we dedicated a new statue of fan-favorite and Hall of Fame play-by-play announcer Bob Uecker at the Home Plate Gate outside of Miller Park. His statue now stands among those for Hank Aaron, Robin Yount, and Commissioner Allan H. “Bud” Selig that celebrate and honor legends of the Brewers franchise. Bob’s unique way of describing the joy of baseball has helped foster a strong bond for our Club in our community — a hometown guy who chose to stay in Milwaukee and share his passion for the game and life with us for more than forty years.
Over these past eight years, many exciting moments as a team were heard on the radio, viewed on Fox Sports Wisconsin or national telecasts, and witnessed at Miller Park. I know of no other place where the bond between a team and the community is stronger. For that, we have to continue to work hard to deliver on our pledges to you — to field a perennially competitive team that reaches the Postseason, where anything can happen; to deliver the best fan experience possible; to be an organization for which people want to work; and to be a leader in the community. We have had four winning seasons out of the past six, placing us among the most consistent winners in the National League, along with the Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants, and Phillies. This year, your unwavering loyalty carried us through a rough patch to the end of a season that had the true excitement of a pennant race. As we gear up for Spring Training and next season, we are thrilled to know that come Opening Day, your enthusiasm will be there to greet us at Miller Park — and I know it will help lead us to another winning season both on and off the field.
Chairman and Principal Owner
|Mark and Debbie Attanasio, along with Brewers Community Foundation, thank our 2012 team on and off the field, the Brewers Wives, and our fans for their contributions and commitment.|
|FOR A LIST OF ORGANIZATIONS SUPPORTED BY BREWERS COMMUNITY FOUNDATION, OR TO LEARN HOW YOU CAN HELP SUPPORT OUR MISSION, VISIT BREWERS.COM/WHATISGOOD.|