Longtime Dodger fans are very well aware that it was once commonplace… almost expected for the Dodgers to have at least one rookie in contention for the National League Rookie of the Year title every year, a title that the Dodgers absolutely owned for decades during the O’Malley era (both Walter and Peter). But what was once a seemingly annual award for the Dodgers hasn’t happened since 1996 when Todd Hollandsworth became the last Dodger rookie to win this prestigious award. That was 16 years ago, folks.
With Monday’s announcement that the Dodgers have added six new international and three new domestic scouts to their already deep and experienced team of professional scouts, new Dodgers ownership has once again proven their commitment to re-establishing the franchise as having the best farm system in all of baseball – something that was once synonymous with the word ‘Dodgers’ and something that was kicked to the curb by the last two franchise owners (or traded away by Dodgers general managers Fred Claire, Kevin Malone, Dan Evans, Paul DePodesta or Ned Colletti).
Obviously, it will take time for the Dodgers to rebuild their farm system, probably upwards of five or six years, but you’ve got to start somewhere and the Dodgers have clearly laid the foundation under the Guggenheim Baseball Management Group.
Another thing that will take time (if it is even possible, that is) is for the once highly respected Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) to re-establish their credibility after last year’s train wreck when they voted Ryan Braun as the NL MVP over the true NL MVP Matt Kemp; this in spite of Braun’s positive PED test and Kemp’s near Triple Crown season. For reasons known only to them, the BBWAA decided to create their own criteria by claiming that Braun deserved the award over Kemp for no other reason than Braun was on a playoff-bound team and Kemp was not, irregardless of the fact that this is found nowhere in the voting criteria or that the last Brewers player to win an MVP title (shortstop Robin Yount – and deservedly so), was on a 4th place Brewers team, yet Kemp was on the 3rd place Dodgers team in 2011. (Yes, I am still incensed over this travesty and for the BBWAA making up their own rules as they go).
To their credit (although this one was a no-brainer), the BBWAA got both the AL and NL Rookie of the Year titles (now called the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award) right this year in naming Mike Trout (Angels) and Bryce Harper (Nationals) as the AL and NL ROY award winners respectively. In fact (and again rightfully so), Trout was the unanimous winner with 28 first-place votes (140 points). Harper won by a mere 7 points over Diamondbacks rookie pitching phenom Wade Miley 112 points to 107.
Needless to say, the groundwork has been set for the Dodgers to get back into the race and to once again start producing Rookie of the Year candidates, just as they once did.
Here are the former Dodgers Rookie of the Year Award winners (note the five consecutive winners from 1992-1996):
- 1960 – Frank Howard (1960)
- 1965 – Jim Lefebvre (1965)
- 1969 – Ted Sizemore (1969)
- 1979 – Rick Sutcliffe (1979)
- 1980 – Steve Howe (1980)
- 1981 – Fernando Valenzuela (1981)
- 1982 – Steve Sax (1982)
- 1992 – Eric Karros (1992)
- 1993 – Mike Piazza (1993)
- 1994 – Raúl Mondesi (1994)
- 1995 – Hideo Nomo (1995)
- 1996 – Todd Hollandsworth (1996)