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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Brewers 3B Braun named NL Rookie of the Year

Unfortunately, Tulowitzki should have been awarded this prestigious award.

NEW YORK (TICKER) -- Ryan Braun's monstrous season at the plate was barely enough to trump Troy Tulowitzki's solid all-around campaign.

The third baseman of the Milwaukee Brewers, Braun won the 2007 National League Rookie of the Year Award on Monday from the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Braun edged Tulowitzki, the Colorado Rockies' shortstop, to become Milwaukee's first Rookie of the Year since shortstop Pat Listach won the American League honor in 1992.

"You don't like to put expectations on players," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said. "But he certainly went well beyond what we anticipated from him in his first year.

"To show you how good Ryan was, in any other year, Troy Tulowitzki would have won hands down."

Braun received 17 first-place votes, 14 second-place votes and one third-place vote for 128 points, just two more than Tulowitzki.

Tulowitzki was first on 15 ballots and second on the other 17 for 126 points. The two-point differential was the closest in the NL since the current points system was adopted in 1980.

Houston Astros outfielder Hunter Pence was a distant third with 15 third-place votes. He was followed by Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Chris Young, Philadelphia Phillies righthander Kyle Kendrick, Atlanta Braves infielder Yunel Escobar and Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman James Loney.

Braun, who did not make his major-league debut until May 25, led all rookies with a .324 average, 34 home runs and 66 extra-base hits.

"Ryan Braun came to the major leagues and had as much offensive impact as I have seen in my 12 years as a general manager," Melvin said.

The fifth overall pick of the 2005 draft, Braun finished second in RBI (97), runs (91) and total bases (286) and established a rookie record with his NL-leading .634 slugging percentage.

Braun, whose only drawback was his 26 errors, helped the Brewers (83-79) finish over .500 for first time since 1992, and nearly helped them secure their first postseason berth in 25 years.

"Offensively, I've done well," Braun said. "Defensively, I just need to work harder. I have to make my defense as good as my offense. I feel like for two weeks I'll be great, and then I'll find a way to be terrible for two games. It's just a process, and the more experience I have, the better I'll be."

After a slow start, Tulowitzki batted .291 and hit an NL shortstop rookie-record 24 home runs, while driving in 99 runs. He led all rookies in hits (177), runs (104) and doubles (33).

The 23-year-old Tulowitzki didn't get his average over .200 for good until April 28 and had just two homers through June 5.

Unlike Braun, Tulowitzki, who was selected with the seventh overall pick in 2005, excelled in the field. He led all major-league shortstops with a .987 fielding percentage and showed off his cannon arm to a national audience during Colorado's magical postseason run.

"Everybody knows in this locker room I would have much rather had a World Series ring," Tulowitzki said. "I care about the team much more than individual stuff."


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