This year's rookie of the year debate has been coming down to Braves RF Jason Heyward and Giants C Buster Posey for quite a while now. We made the case for Heyward about a month ago, citing his superior on base percentage and various confounding acronyms. It's time for publications to begin naming their official choices, and Baseball America is first on the board, awarding its Rookie of the Year honors to Heyward over Posey "by the narrowest of margins."
This is becoming a fun rivalry for fans of both teams. The two have now met in a Georgia high school state championship and this year's National League Division Series. Posey's Giants beat Heyward's Braves and would have to lose three straight to the Phillies to miss making the World Series. Giants fans chanted "PO-SEY'S BET-TER" at Heyward during their NLDS games in San Francisco, with Braves fans returning the honor when not busy chopping*.
David O'Brien compares some of their achievements:
Heyward occupied right field for the Braves from Opening Day this season and hit .277/.393/.456 with 18 homers, 72 RBIs and 11 stolen bases in 142 games, playing through a thumb injury that diminished his power for about six weeks and eventually required a disabled list stint that kept him out of the All-Star Game after he had been elected as a starter.
Posey, who wasn't called up until the end of May and in fact ranked as BA's top prospect in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League this season, hit .305/.357/.505 with 18 homers and 67 RBIs in 108 games, including a ridiculous .417 with seven homers, 24 RBIs and a 1.067 OPS in July in just his second full month in the majors.
The Baseball Writers' Association of America selects the league's official NL and AL rookies of the year, but picking up this honor should be a good sign for Heyward's chances. Though the Baseball America award hasn't historically been a very good indicator of who will win the BBWAA award, the two have agreed in two of the past three seasons.
* This never happens.