National League Rookies of the Year—2000s
Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers recently won the National League Rookie of the Year Award in a very close vote over Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. There is a new wave of young players that can really hit the ball in the National League, and both of these guys are in that class. Here is a look back at the National League's top rookies in the current decade:
2007-Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers
With 17 first place votes, Milwaukee third baseman Ryan Braun won the NL Rookie of the Year Award by only two points over Rockies' shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Many argued that "Tulo" was a more complete player offensively and defensively, but in the end Braun's numbers were just too big-34 homers, 97 runs batted in, .324 batting average, 26 doubles, .370 on base average and .634 slugging percentage. What's most astonishing though, is that Braun began the season at AAA Nashville and only played in 113 games with Milwaukee.
2006-Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins
In another close vote, Florida shortstop Hanley Ramirez won the 2006 NL Rookie of the Year Award over Washington's Ryan Zimmerman. Ramirez hit .292 with 17 homers, 59 RBI, 46 doubles and 51 stolen bases. Ramirez played in 158 games and had an on base percentage of .353.
2005-Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies
Before he really started belting home runs in bunches, Phillies' first baseman Ryan Howard won the Rookie of the Year Award in 2005 by hitting 22 home runs with 63 RBI and a .288 batting average in just 88 games. Howard's slugging percentage was .567 and he beat out Houston's Willie Taveras by a pretty wide margin.
2004-Jason Bay, Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates and their fans have not had much to cheer about since Barry Bonds left for San Francisco in 1993, but in 2004 outfielder Jason Bay took home the NL Rookie of the Year Award. That season, Bay batted .282 with 26 homers and 82 RBI. He also had 24 doubles and 4 triples.
2003-Dontrelle Willis, Florida Marlins
Lefty pitcher Dontrelle Willis took the National League by storm in 2003, winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award by a comfortable margin over Milwaukee's Scott Podsednik. Willis started 27 games, going 14-6 with a 3.30 ERA and 142 strikeouts in 160 innings of work. He added two complete games and two shutouts, and helped the Marlins to a World Series title.
2002-Jason Jennings, Colorado Rockies
Pitcher Jason Jennings won the NL Rookie of the Year in 2002, a feat that is even more impressive when you consider that he pitched in the high altitude of Coors Field for half of his games. Jennings went 16-8 with a 4.52 ERA and 127 strikeouts in 185 innings pitched.
2001-Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals
Before he became a megastar in baseball terms, Cardinals' first baseman Albert Pujols had to start somewhere. That somewhere was his first season in the bigs, 2001, when he played in 161 games, batting .329 with 37 home runs and 130 runs batted in on his way to winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award. Pujols had 47 doubles among his 194 hits, scored 112 runs, and had an on base average of .403 and slugging percentage of .610 in garnering all 32 first-place votes. Houston pitcher Roy Oswalt was a distant second.
2000-Rafael Furcal, Atlanta Braves
Atlanta shortstop Rafael Furcal won the 2000 NL Rookie of the Year Award by batting .295 with 20 doubles, 4 triples, 4 homers, 37 RBI, and 40 stolen bases. Furcal also had an on base average of .394.