Norichika Aoki And Rookie Brewers

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

When the NL Rookie of the Year is announced tonight, it's likely Norichika Aoki will appear on some ballots. Let's take a look at some of the other Brewers who have been honored over the years.

Later today the Baseball Writers Association of America will announce their picks for the 2012 AL and NL Rookie of the Year and while Norichika Aoki is not a finalist for the NL award, he's likely to be named on a few ballots and finish somewhere outside the top three.

If Aoki does receive votes today, he'll become the 20th Brewer ever to do so. Here's a quick primer on some of the candidates that came before him:

Casey McGehee, 2009
Finish:
5th
Winner: Chris Coghlan, Marlins

No Brewer has been named on a Rookie of the Year ballot since McGehee's remarkable campaign in 2009 where he came out of relative obscurity to hit .301/.360/.499 in 116 games. McGehee received just one first place vote, though.

Ryan Braun, 2007
Finish:
1st

Braun edged out Tulowitzki is one of the closest RoY votes ever, getting 17 first place votes and 128 points as compared to Tulo's 15 and 126. Braun wowed voters with his .324/.370/.634 batting line but was dreadful defensively at third base, leading to his eventual move to the outfield.

Prince Fielder, 2006
Finish:
Tied for 7th
Winner: Hanley Ramirez, Marlins

Fielder was one of 12 players to receive RoY consideration this year (including six Marlins), and led all NL rookies with 28 home runs. Ramirez edged out Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals 105-101 to take the trophy.

Rickie Weeks, 2005
Finish:
Tied for 6th
Winner: Ryan Howard, Phillies

Weeks appeared in 96 games for the Brewers in his first full time season and hit .239/.333/.394 to earn mentions on three ballots. Howard, meanwhile, posted a .924 OPS and received 19 of the league's 32 first place votes.

Scott Podsednik, 2003
Finish:
2nd
Winner: Dontrelle Willis, Marlins

Podsednik had a great rookie campaign (.314/.379/.443 with 43 steals) but had the misfortune of having it at the wrong time: Baseball Reference's Wins Above Replacement (rWAR) stat says Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon Webb (5.7 wins) and Willis (4.2 wins) were both better than Podsednik (3.3), and Phillies outfielder Marlon Byrd (3.1) was close.

Jose Reyes was also eligible this season but was named on just one ballot.

Alex Sanchez, 2002
Finish:
Tied for 9th
Winner: Jason Jennings, Rockies

Looking back, Sanchez's primary claim to fame may be this bit of trivia: He was the first Brewer ever to receive a Rookie of the Year vote in the NL. He was pretty good in his rookie campaign, hitting .289/.343/.358 in center field and stealing 37 bases. He was nowhere near as valuable as Reds outfielder Austin Kearns (third) or Cubs pitcher Mark Prior (7th), though.

Jeff D'Amico, 1997
Finish:
Tied for 7th
Winner: Derek Jeter, Yankees

With the exception of Jeter, this was a remarkably poor rookie class. D'Amico earned a third place mention on one writer's ballot despite posting a 5.44 ERA and pitching just 86 innings.

Steve Sparks, 1995
Finish:
9th
Winner: Marty Cordova, Twins

Sparks, a knuckleballer, was actually my inspiration to write this post. Here's what I said about his rookie campaign in the comments of a post about him back in October:

Sparks wasn’t awesome by any stretch of the imagination. But he did pitch 202 innings in 1995, in a 144 game season. That puts him on pace for 227 over a 162 game season, which would be right around the 12th highest total for a Brewer in the last 30 years, and the sixth highest of the last 20.

For his trouble, Sparks was ninth in the AL Rookie of the Year vote, appearing on one of 28 submitted ballots. rWAR says he was worth 2.9 wins that season, but in the voting he finished behind Garret Anderson (2.8), Andy Pettitte (2.7), Shawn Green (0.3), Ray Durham (-0.6), Julian Tavarez (1.6) and Jon Nunnally (2.3).

Steve Sparks was robbed.

Jose Valentin, 1994
Finish:
9th
Winner: Bob Hamelin, Royals

Valentin was named third on just one of the writers' 28 ballots despite the fact that he may actually have been the league's best rookie: rWAR has him and Royals first baseman Bob Hamelin tied for the lead at 2.4. Hamelin hit 24 home runs in the strike-shortened season to win the award.

Pat Listach and Cal Eldred, 1992
Finish:
1st and 4th, respectively

Listach was the first Rookie of the Year in franchise history after hitting .290/.352/.349 and stealing 54 bases as the Brewers narrowly missed the playoffs. He received 20 first place votes to beat out another speedster, Kenny Lofton of the Indians.

Listach and Lofton split 27 of the 28 first place votes, with the other one going to Eldred. He posted a 1.79 ERA over 14 starts in his debut season.

This was the last time the Brewers have had two players receive votes in the same season.

Doug Henry, 1991
Finish:
Tied for 8th
Winner: Chuck Knoblauch, Twins

Henry was dominant after being called up to the Brewers for the first time, posting a 1.00 ERA and 15 saves with a 0.833 WHIP. He still only appeared in 32 games, though, and his eighth place finish represents one third place vote among the 28 ballots cast.

Don August, 1988
Finish:
4th
Winner: Walt Weiss, Athletics

August had a pretty good season (a 3.09 ERA but just 148.1 innings), but really benefitted from this being a pretty weak rookie class. Weiss, the winner, hit just .250/.312/.321 in 147 games for Oakland.

Teddy Higuera and Ernie Riles, 1985
Finish:
2nd and 3rd, respectively
Winner: Ozzie Guillen, White Sox

The voters whiffed on this one. Higuera posted a 3.90 ERA and threw 212.1 innings in his major league debut season, striking out 127 while walking just 63. He only received nine first place votes, though, as the BBWAA chose Ozzie Guillen and his sub-.300 OBP.

Ernie Riles also appeared in 116 games at shortstop (replacing Robin Yount) and hit .286/.339/.377. By rWAR the best player on the ballot was Angels reliever Stew Cliburn, who finished fifth.

Paul Molitor, 1978
Finish:
2nd
Winner: Lou Whitaker, Tigers

Before 1980 the Rookie of the Year ballot only asked for first place votes, so getting mentioned at all meant someone thought you were the league's best rookie. Voters had a real challenge in '78 as Molitor, Whitaker, Tigers shortstop Alan Trammell, Royals pitcher Rich Gale and Angels third baseman Carney Lansford were all worth better than 2 rWAR.

Molitor received three first place votes but finished a distant second to Whitaker, who was named on 21 ballots after hitting .285/.361/.357 for Detroit.

Pedro Garcia and Darrell Porter, 1973
Finish:
2nd and 3rd, respectively
Winner: Al Bumbry, Orioles

This was the first time the Brewers ever had two players receive votes but, while Garcia finished second and Porter finished tied for third, neither was close to receiving the honor. Orioles right fielder Al Bumbry hit .337/.398/.500 and received 13 first place votes while the five players behind him combined for 10.

Bill Parsons, 1971
Finish:
2nd
Winner: Chris Chambliss, Indians

Parsons received just five of the 24 votes leaguewide but rWAR had him as clearly the league's best rookie, posting a 3.20 ERA while pitching 244.2 innings for a Brewer team that went 69-92. Award winner Chris Chambliss was a former #1 overall pick who hit .275/.341/.407 at first base for Cleveland.

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