Top 10 Rookie of the Year performances in the 2000s

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 03: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Aaron Judge of the Yankees in action. He is a former MLB rookie of the year. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 03: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Aaron Judge of the Yankees in action. He is a former MLB rookie of the year. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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Craig Kimbrel of the Atlanta Braves in action.
(Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images) /

No. 10: Craig Kimbrel – 2011 Atlanta Braves

There are very few outstanding pitching performances by rookies, and Craig Kimbrel‘s was one of them. As a young 23-year-old, Kimbrel saved a league-leading 46 games. He also led the league in games finished with the Braves. The former 33rd round draft pick selected by Atlanta was absolutely lights out in his first full season. Kimbrel posted a 2.10 ERA, a 4-3 record, pitched in 79 games, struck out 127 batters, a 183 ERA+, a 1.52 WHIP, and a 1.039 WHIP.

Kimbrel was also an All-Star selection, finished ninth in CY Young voting, and 23rd in MVP voting. By the end of the season, Kimbrel had 2.5 wins above replacement. The 6’0″ flame-throwing reliever began a successful career since his rookie season and has only had two bad seasons out of 11 years. I was contemplating whether a relief pitcher should deserve to be on my top ROY performances, but Kimbrel certainly has the numbers to back it up. What stood out most was the number of batters he struck out. He was averaged 14.8 K/9 in 2011.

Craig Kimbrel is now 32-years-old and is a member of the Chicago Cubs, but he has not been himself since 2019. He will look to find his ROY performance in 2021 to help the Cubs fight for another postseason spot. Now that I have listed my top 10 ROY performances, it is worth mentioning a few honorable mentions.