Craig Kimbrel wins NL Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year unanimously

Atlanta Braves pitcher Craig Kimbrel, who set a major league record for saves by a first-year pitcher with 46 in tying the Milwaukee Brewers’ John Axford for the National League lead, was elected the NL winner of the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award.

Kimbrel received all 32 first-place votes cast by two writers in each league city to score a perfect 160 points, based on the 5-3-1 tabulation system, and become the 10th unanimous selection, joining Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen, Raul Mondesi, Mike Piazza, Benito Santiago, Vince Coleman, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda and Frank Robinson. There have been seven such winners in the American League.

Kimbrel was 4-3 with a 2.10 ERA in 79 games and held opponents to a .178 batting average. Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (.282, 21 HR, 76 RBI) was runner-up in the voting. It marked the third time that NL teammates finished 1-2. The others were Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jack Sanford and first baseman Ed Bouchee in 1957 and Chicago Cubs outfielders Jerome Walton and Dwight Smith in 1989. It has occurred four times in AL voting.

Kimbrel is the sixth NL relief pitcher honored, along with Scott Williamson, Todd Worrell, Steve Howe, Butch Metzger and Joe Black. Five relievers have won in the AL. It was the seventh time a Braves player has been honored. The others were Rafael Furcal, David Justice, Bob Horner and Earl Williams in Atlanta and Sam Jethroe and Alvin Dark in Boston. The Braves did not have a Rookie of the Year winner during their time in Milwaukee (1953-65).

The voting:

2011 NL Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year

Player, Team1st2nd3rdPoints
Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves32160
Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves21770
Vance Worley, Philadelphia Phillies81640
Wilson Ramos, Washington Nationals136
Josh Collmenter, Arizona Diamondbacks125
Danny Espinosa, Washington Nationals13
Darwin Barney, Chicago Cubs22
Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers22