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Will Neftali Feliz win rookie of the year today?

11/15/2010

The Baseball Writers' Association of America will begin to unveil its award winners today. That starts with the AL and NL rookie of the year winners.

The AL award is essentially a competition between Rangers closer Neftali Feliz and Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson. I didn't have a vote in this one, but it would have gone to Feliz. He was given the closer job after the first week of the season and was consistent and solid. The big thing for me: He improved as the season continued. He had 40 saves, the record for a rookie (and more than Andrew Bailey had last year when he won) and didn't have a blown save after Aug. 11, pitching well down the stretch.

But we'll see what happens at 1 p.m. today when the award is announced.

Thanks to Mark Simon at ESPN Stats & Information, here are some interesting numbers on both of them:

* Feliz had 40 saves, the most by a rookie since saves were recorded in 1969. The list:

'10 Neftali Feliz: 40

'00 Kazuhiro Sasaki: 37

'86 Todd Worrell: 36

'06 Jonathan Papelbon: 35

'99 Billy Koch: 31

* He had 40 saves and 9-plus strikeouts per 9 innings. He was the first Rangers pitcher to do that since 2004. The full list:

Neftali Feliz (2010)

Francisco Cordero (2004)

John Wetteland (1998)

Tom Henke (1993)

* A reliever won AL rookie of the year honors last year. Here's the list of previous rookie of the year winners that were relief pitchers:

Andrew Bailey (2009 Athletics)

Huston Street (2005 Athletics)

Kazuhiro Sasaki (2000 Mariners)

Scott Williamson (1999 Reds)

Gregg Olson (1989 Orioles)

Todd Worrell (1986 Cardinals)

Steve Howe (1980 Dodgers)

Butch Metzger (1976 Padres)

* AL Rookie Leaders in batting average (minimum 300 plate appearances):

Danny Valencia: .311

Austin Jackson: .293

John Jaso: .263

Brennan Boesch: .256

Reid Brignac: .256

* AL rookie leaders in RBIs:

Brennan Boesch: 67

Justin Smoak: 48

Reid Brignac: 45

John Jaso: 44

Austin Jackson: 41

* AL rookie leaders in stolen bases

Austin Jackson: 27

Peter Bourjos: 10

Michael Brantley: 10

Ryan Kalish: 10