Kris Bryant unanimously won the NL Rookie of the Year vote yesterday, with our own Matt Duffy coming in second. This is certainly due to SHENANIGANS, EAST COAST BIAS, VOTERS HATING THE GIANTS, NO ONE WANTING TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE DYNASTY RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEIR DAMN FACES, and also Bryant being a more hyped player who had a significantly better year.
Coming in third and fourth, after Bryant and Duffy, were Jung-ho Kang and Noah Syndergaard, both reasonable choices for the bottom of the ballot. And then there were the others.
Oh, the others.
Joc Pederson and Stephen Piscotty each got one third place vote. Pederson, of course, started out very hot and made the All-Star team before the league stopped giving up homers to him. That was an excellent decision, league, and I sincerely hope you keep it up next year. He was not one of the top three rookies in the NL this year and presumably only got his sole third place vote because Marcos Enrique Hernandez of the Agence France Presses stopped following baseball at the end of June.
Piscotty had a good year, but he wasn't called up until mid-July, which cost him a lot of PAs – he only got 256 total, which makes it hard to outdo a player who was up for all or most of the year – and ensured that his unreasonably high BABIP (.372) didn't have time to fall back to earth. Neither Pederson nor Piscotty was an especially good pick, but each of them hit well overall in the majors and each certainly has enough talent that in a couple years, they could be stars. Neither of those votes were good, but it's not like they were some catastrophic leaving-Bryce-Harper-off-the-MVP-ballot level embarrassment.
Which brings me to Justin Bour. Justin Bour was bad this year, with Fangraphs and Baseball Reference putting aside their differences to agree that he was worth 0.3 WAR. He was a good hitter – .262/.321/.479 with 23 homers is a solid line, especially in a pitcher's park in Miami that suppresses homers so much – but he was a bad baserunner and a bad defender at first base, the easiest place to play.
Oh, Justin Bour plays first base for the Marlins. Sorry I didn't already mention that. He's a real guy, who exists, who plays in Miami, and if his name is echoing off the walls of your head in a vaguely familiar Hairstonesque way, it's because of these three games in Miami when he crushed the Giants and made us all think, "Well gosh, maybe Matt Cain isn't going to singlehandedly save the rotation." That was his biggest accomplishment of the year. And he got a two votes for NL ROY: one second place vote and one third place vote.
Justin Bour had no business getting any votes at all. He's 27, so he's not likely to get better, and he's not better than any other rookie I've mentioned at anything. Even guys like Randall Grichuk, Addison Russell, and Odubel Herrera, none of whom got a vote, would be better choices. So who voted for him? The third place vote came from Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, and the second-place one came from Gene Collier of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Now, Sullivan put Bour behind Matt Duffy, so whatever. Since Sullivan adequately respected the guy I like, my delicate SPORTS FAN sensibilities weren't offended, but Collier's ballot went Bryant-Bour-Piscotty. This is an astonishingly poor ballot, especially considering that he presumably covered Kang this year.
I honestly can't understand the logic behind putting Bour in second. If it's because of a dinger fetish, where's Joc Pederson? If Collier is giving him credit for playing in a pitcher's park, where's Matt Duffy? If Collier thinks he knows something that other people don't, then why'd he write this article and why has he had it linked on his personal website for two years? People who have knowledge don't write that article. It just doesn't happen.
You might say that I'm making too big a deal about this. And I absolutely am! The results of the ROY voting were right, and under baseball's original constitution Matt Duffy is now Vice Rookie of the Year, and good for him. But it still just baffles me. Because who thinks to vote for Justin Bour? And really, who thinks about Justin Bour at all?