Hellboy Might Need a Handyman

I can imagine that Tampa Bay Rays rookie Jeremy Hellickson will have a special carpentry project to complete in the near future. I can definitely imagine a particular DIY (do-it-yourself) project to be penciled in bold letters on the Hellboy’s off-season “Honey-Do” list.

I can visualize him now peering over expansive pile of timber with the same intensity and commitment he showed 29 times during 2011 as he took the mound. Bet he is even wearing a Rays game day cap on his head, with a pencil fashioned behind his ear. Just like sheriff Brody needed a “Bigger boat”, Hellboy is definitely going to be in the market for a trophy case addition soon.

Recently Tampa Bay Rays rookie starter Jeremy Hellickson got the fantastic news back home in Des Moines, Iowa that he had been selected as the 2011 Baseball America M L B Rookie of the Year. Joining the ranks of Baseball America past R O Y winners such as Cardinals 1B Albert Pujols (2001), Diamondbacks SP Brandon Webb (2003), Tigers SP Justin Verlander (2006), Brewers OF Ryan Braun (2007), Tigers, Cubs C Geovany Soto (2008) and Giants C Buster Posey (2010).

Major League Baseball and the Baseball Writers Association of America (B B W A A) will not officially announce their respective National League or American League Rookie of the Year Award winners until November 14th but history is definitely tilted Hellboy’s way as 8 out of the last 11 M L B seasons, the Baseball America R O Y selection also heard his name announced as their respective league’s R O Y award winner in mid-November.

Hellboy also ended the National League’s 4-year grip on the award and Hellickson became not only the first pitcher to stake claim to the award, but also the first American League player to win the honor since Detroit Tigers rookie SP Justin Verlander back in 2006. This same Baseball America MLB Rookie of the Year honor eluded former Rays standouts Rocco Baldelli, Carl Crawford, Joe Kennedy, Rolando Arroyo, plus current stars 3B Evan Longoria and SP David Price. Interesting enough, former Rays 3B/DH Eric Hinske (2002) and SP Hideo Nomo (1995) won the same award, but not as Rays.

Amazing that Hellickson in his first full MLB season posted a .210 opponents batting average, which ranked 3rd in the MLB behind possible Cy Young candidates Verlander and Los Angeles Dodger hurler Clayton Kershaw. Didn’t hurt that the young Rays starter saved his best for later in the 2011 season as Hellboy bolstered a 2.64 ERA from the All-Star break to the end of the 2011 season, plus garnered a coveted American League Divisional Series pitching assignment.

Hellickson is definitely another reason to feel optimistic coming into the Spring of 2012 when he will not only have another year under his belt, but possibly possess even a few more tweaks to his pitching arsenal. With that in mind, maybe there should be a tweak to Hellickson’s DIY project plans, possibly re-configuring his carpentry plans to include an addition to his home. Got a feeling this is the first wave of many shiny pieces of MLB acknowledgment that Hellboy will receive in his career.

If you need help Jeremy, I am pretty good with a tape measure and a circular saw.

8 Comments

Hellickson is the obvious ROY winner in my eyes. I gave him an A+ in my “2011 Rays Report Card”, and I believe that he was the second-best starter on the Rays this year. Here’s the Rays report card I made: http://yossif.mlblogs.com/2011/10/21/2011-rays-report-card/
The Rays Rant

Yossif,
Hard to believe that Hellickson could win honors that no other Rays pitcher has ever accomplished. Still hard to fathom Kennedy, Price and even our 1998 All-Star Arroyo never got a ROY award in any form. Still, he might have gotten a grand “A” now, but I got a feeling he will keep that high GPA for a long, long time.
Best RHP on our staff…Sorry Shieldsy.

A couple of questions here. Do you think that Hellickson will win the ROY award or at least deserves it? Also, do you think that Hellickson had a better year than Shields or Hellickson will be a better pitcher than Shields?

Yossif,
The stat that 8 out of the last 11 BA ROY winners kind of leans towards Hellboy winning the AL ROY. For that reason I feel he has a great chance of taking anothewr shiny trophy to the house. If you compare Shields first/rookie season with Hellickson, they look similar, but I think Hellboy gets the nod because the Rays are competitve now and the pressure is larger than when Shields made his debut. Plus the fact Shields did not come in as a number 3 shows the organization had full confidence in Hellboy. Shields is a great pitcher who tosses unheard of innings, but he is vulnerable to the long ball, Hellboy so far has shown he can keep the ball in the park….Hopefully we will not see a sophomore jinx hit Hellboy, that would be a true bummer.

I agree with all that, I just think that this year Shields was for sure better. I think Hellickson will have a better career though and had a unbelievable rookie year.

Yossif,
Do not get me wrong, I applaud the comeback year for Shields, just have a gut feeling Hellboy could one day threaten to be the Rays first 20 game winner. Think about the 2014 rotation for a moment: Price, Hellickson, Moore, Cobb and either Torres, Archer or Barnese…..That is impressive.

Of course, everyone knew what this kid could do in a full season. Just another stellar arm from the Rays farm system. Cant wait to see him progress in the years ahead.

Paul,
I am also looking forward to the next few years as Hellboy gets a bit more experience under his belt plus the Rays stay competitive. Always said prior to the 2011 season it might comr down to a handful of wins to decide their fate….Hellboy’s double digits victories definitely put the Rays into prime real estate in September.

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