Craig Kimbrel takes home NL Rookie of the Year over Freddie Freeman

Craig Kimbrel is the NL 2011 Rookie of the Year. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Earl Williams (1971), Bob Horner (1978), David Justice (1990), Rafael Furcal (2000), and now Craig Kimbrel (2011).

BBWA just announced that Kimbrel will be the fifth ROY for the prospect-rich Atlanta Braves. Kimbrel beat out fellow teammate Freddie Freeman in a race to the end. Kimbrel was the unanimous pick, gaining all 32 first place votes! Freeman had 21 second place votes and seven third place votes.

Atlanta made sure it would take home the ROY this year, putting several rookies into the race. Kimbrel, Freeman, Brandon Beachy, and Jonny Venters all are deserving of the honor.  Last year, rookie Jason Heyward was beat out for the BBWA ROY after capturing the Sporting News ROY in a close race with Buster Posey.

Kimbrel tied for the NL lead in saves with a rookie major league record 46. Kimbrel held opponents to a .178 batting average and had a streak of 37 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings while striking out an impressive clip of 14.84 per nine innings.

David O’Brien with AJC gave a case for Freeman here:

Freeman finished third among NL rookies with a .282 batting average, first in homers (21), first in RBIs (76), second in multi-hit games (43), second in runs (67), first in hits (161), first in total bases (256), first in doubles (32), second in walks (53) and third in on-base percentage (.346) and third in slugging percentage (.448).


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