Seattle Mariners: Does Michael Pineda Deserve AL Rookie of the Year Award?

Kasey ScottAnalyst ISeptember 27, 2011

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 10:  Starting pitcher Michael Pineda #36 of the Seattle Mariners reacts after giving up a two-run homer in the first inning to Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals at Safeco Field on September 10, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. The Royals defeated the Mariners 4-2. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

With only two games left in the 2011 MLB season, Michael Pineda of the Seattle Mariners is a front-runner for the American League Rookie of the Year award.

If the Rookie of the Year award had been handed out at the end of May, Pineda would have won the award, hands-down. Pineda came blazing out of the gates to post a 6-2 record and a 2.42 ERA in the first two months of the MLB season. 

Pineda only saw his record drop to 7-5 by the time June was over, while maintaining a solid 2.65 ERA. In Pineda's defense, the Mariners only scored nine runs in his six starts in June. 

Pineda's quick start resulted in a very average finish, as he finished the year off with a 9-10 record and a 3.74 ERA. 

His ERA is good enough for 22nd best in the AL, while his 1.10 WHIP is 10th best in the AL. 

Surprisingly enough, Pineda struck out a total of 173 batters in his rookie campaign. His 173 strikeouts ranked him tied for 14th in the AL. 

Pineda's 9-10 record certainly doesn't say enough as to how dominant the rookie was. He was tied for 15th in the AL with 19 quality starts. 

His K/BB ratio was 14th in the AL at 3.15, right behind former AL Cy Young Award winner and teammate Felix Hernandez. 

Pineda only walked a total of 55 batters in 2011, 16th best in the AL. 

Some people may argue that Pineda plays at the most pitcher-friendly stadium in the AL at Safeco Field, but it doesn't help that the Mariners offense ranked last in most offensive categories. 

Pineda had the eighth worst run support per start in the AL with only 5.16 runs a game. 

The argument for Pineda is obviously strong, as he ranks inside the top 20 for many pitching categories. 

Jeremy Hellickson and Ivan Nova will certainly challenge Pineda for the AL Rookie of the Year Award, as both have better records. 

Hellickson of Tampa Bay is currently 13-10 with a 2.90 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. Hellickson plays in the tough AL East but has received a solid 6.39 runs in support. 

Nova pitches at the hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium and has done wonders for a staff that can't figure it out.

Nova is 16-4 with a 3.70 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP and has received a whopping 8.82 runs in support a game though.

Pineda has nearly 60 more strikeouts than Nova and Hellickson, plus a better WHIP.

Wins and losses cannot be the only factor in the AL Rookie of the Year Award, as Pineda plays for the worst offensive team in the MLB; Nova and Hellickson pitch for teams with top-10 offenses.

It will be interesting to see how the voting goes, but Michael Pineda would certainly get my vote as he has had one heck of a rookie campaign.