Hellickson is Baseball America's top rookie

Hellickson is Baseball America's top rookie

Hellickson is Baseball America's top rookie
ST. PETERSBURG -- Baseball America has named Jeremy Hellickson as the 2011 Rookie of the Year, recognizing the Rays right-hander as the Major Leagues' top newcomer.

Hellickson is the first in Rays history to earn this honor.

Of the 23 players to receive the award since it was created in 1989, Hellickson is the seventh pitcher to be recognized and the first in five years, joining Justin Verlander (Detroit Tigers, 2006), Huston Street (Oakland Athletics, 2005), Brandon Webb (Arizona Diamondbacks, 2003), Kerry Wood (Chicago Cubs, 1998) and Gregg Olson (Baltimore Orioles, 1989).

Hellickson, 24, went 13-10 with a 2.95 ERA (189 innings, 62 earned runs) in 29 starts for the Rays this season. He led all Major League rookies in ERA, innings pitched, games started, quality starts (20), opponents' batting average (.210) and tied for second in wins. The last qualifying AL rookie (minimum 162 innings) to finish with a lower ERA was Kevin Appier, who posted a 2.76 ERA for Kansas City in 1990.

His .210 opponents' batting average ranked third in the Majors behind Verlander (.192) and Clayton Kershaw (.207) of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In May, the right-hander was named AL Pitcher of the Month and AL Rookie of the Month. He ranked third among AL starters with a 2.64 ERA (85 1/3 innings, 25 earned runs) after the All-Star break.

Hellickson, who was named the Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year in 2010, becomes the third player -- and first pitcher -- to be named both Minor League Player of the Year and Major League Rookie of the Year by the publication, and the second to do so in successive seasons. Sandy Alomar Jr. was named Minor League Player of the Year in 1989 and Rookie of the Year in 1990. Derek Jeter was named Minor League Player of the Year in 1994 and Rookie of the Year in 1996.

Major League Baseball will announce the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award winners for both the American League and National League on Nov. 14. Hellickson is vying to become the second AL Rookie of the Year in Rays' history, following Evan Longoria in 2008.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.