With the first spate of post season awards, San Francisco's Buster Posey grabbed the National League prize, while Texas closer Neftali Feliz won the American League honors.
In a way, Feliz was already a seasoned vet compared to the players he bested as Neftali did hurl 31effective innings in 2009, and returned in 2010 to convert 40 saves and lead the bullpen--and his team--to the World Series, where in just another of the year's perfections, played against his National League Rookie of the Year counterpart.
Austin Jackson, who comported himself both well and consistently during his debut season (.293-4-41) and grabbed eight first round votes to 20 for Feliz. Jackson, whom Detroit got as part of the exchange for Curtis Granderson, also scored 103 runs and stole 27 bags, and really the only concern for the center fielder is his strikeouts (170 last year to only 47 walks).
The remaining American League first-timers includes Danny Valencia, Brennan Boesch, Brian Matusz, John Jaso, and Wade Davis in a pretty good year of rookies.
But, in the National League, Posey stood atop a cluster of potential epic players, starting with the ROY favorite when the season began, Atlanta's Jason Heyward (.277-18-72), and truth is, Heyward is a man to grab for any kind of team in any kind of format.
"Why?" you might ask?
Because at age 20, Heyward finished the season with a .393 OBP (91 walks, 128 whiffs) and that combination--young age; high OBP--suggests a potential HOF career, or at least most of the other guys with an OBP around .400 who did it at the age of 20 managed pretty great careers.
But backstop Posey, who did not even get a 2010 at-bat till May 29, pretty much equalled Heyward and his offensive prowess with a .305-18-67 season over 108 games. Posey, who started out by playing first base, wound up the backstop for San Francisco, guiding their killer pitching staff to a post season triumph.
Posey not only bested Heyward, but also Jaime Garcia, Gaby Sanchez, Neil Walker, Starlin Castro, Ike Davis, Jose Tabata, and Jonny Venters. But, that does not account for Pedro Alvarez, John Jay, Madison Bumgarner, Brett Wallace, Daniel Hudson, and a handful more future NL stars.
I have to confess that I like the local guy winning the award. I saw Buster in 2009 in the Fall League and did not think he was ready, but clearly, six months later the backstop has taken the league by storm.
So, Cy Young is next, then MVP, then Manager of the Year, and then Thanksgiving. And, I cannot pretend we will cover all the other awards, but well, Buster and Neftali certainly deserve their credit since each was an integral part of their respective championship teams.