Just to get away from the Weather Channel and all the instructions on how to survive a hurricane, let me get my oar in the water about an issue of another pressing nature. You know, who's the Braves Rookie of the Year? Well, hardly "pressing," but I plan to turn it into that.
Mainly, I read, it's just a foregone matter between Freddie Freeman and Craig Kimbrel. You know them well. Freddie has been a day-to-day stalwart, about as nifty a first baseman as has come through town since Mark Teixeira -- I'm sorry I brought up that name. Freddie is ours, home-grown and trained and I'll add this -- you'll never see a more exciting play than Freddie in pursuit of a tall foul.
A glove man? He's slick as a traveling salesman. Power? Only Dan Uggla and Brian McCann have hit more home runs? RBI? Only those two have accumulated more. That pretty much covers the kid who left some deep tracks in Gwinnett.
Kimbrel, well, he's one of those one-inning super-dudes. They call them "closers," which means they enter the game with a lead, pitch only one inning and if they don't blow it, they get credit for a "save." Between the starting pitcher and Kimbrel, Eric O'Flaherty or Jon Venters hold the fort, and there's a category for that, known as "hold," for which there is no official award far as I've noticed.
That's nice, Kimbrel's duty and how he has pulled it off. Pitching one inning a game will get you "Rookie of the Year?" Frankly, it has always been a burr under my saddle that dates back to the person responsible for this form of bullpen recognition, Jerry Holtzman, then a sports writer in Chicago then later a Major League Baseball official. Jerry always said -- he's now dead -- his idea got out of hand. He intended the "save" to be awarded for three innings of work and it was watered down in violation of his will.
But now, what about Brandon Beachy? He happened on the team in an emergency last season, called up from the Instructional League in Florida to start against the Phillies in a crisis state. He'd come out of a mid-summer mountain league in Virginia, passed swiftly through the farm system and pitched his way into the rotation.
Beachy is more than a one-inning flash. He starts, has impressive stuff, never changes expression and at this stage, has a record of 7-2. He's a strikeout pitcher, has nine-inning stuff, if they'll ever allow him to stay the route. "Rookie of the Year?" He gets my vote and you're going to be seeing him around until he's doing shaving commercials.
Sorry they didn't get to see more of him in Gwinnett. He worked 35 innings for the G-Braves, struck out 48 batters and was on his way. He has no ceiling.