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Player Rankings: Looking into the rookie crystal ball

by | CBSSports.com
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Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer should give long-suffering Royals fans hope of brighter days. (US Presswire)  
Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer should give long-suffering Royals fans hope of brighter days. (US Presswire)  

Updated September 13

Craig Kimbrel and Jeremy Hellickson will win the Rookie of the Year awards. This has been set in stone for a while now, ever since the narrative-makers got wind of Kimbrel's swelling saves total and Michael Pineda's second-half decline. Neither is an unworthy candidate.

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That said, of all of the players who made their debut in 2011 or retained their rookie eligibility after a 2010 cameo, does anyone really think we'll be talking about Kimbrel and Hellickson as la crème De La class five years from now? Maybe they'll have fine careers; Hellickson seems the better long-term bet, given that his immediate fate isn't in the hands of a skipper whose pitcher-usage strategy can be encapsulated as "guhhhhh."

So rather than list the Rookie of the Year candidates in order of their 2011 award-worthiness, I'm gonna dig deep into the speculation toolbag and rank them based on how I think they'll line up a few years from now. Again: this is an exercise in reckless opinioneering. Please do not counter my choices with "yea but Fredi Freman has most RBIs your dumb." If you want to say, "Freddie Freeman's RBI total speaks to a wellspring of as-yet-untapped offensive potential," that's fine -- contextually ignorant, sure, but fine. That's all.

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