J.A. Happ not begin the season with the intention of collecting individual awards, but he was deeply honored by one announced today.
“It feels really good to have guys that you play against vote for you,’” Happ said after winning the Sporting News National League Rookie of the Year. The award was determined by a panel of 338 major league players. Chicago White Sox third baseman Gordan Beckham won in the American League.
“It’s kind of the ultimate validation, really,” he said.
Happ remains a candidate for the actual rookie of the year award, given next month. The lefthander, went 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA in 35 games in the regular season, striking out 119 in 166 innings, with two shutouts.
“J.A. wasn't the typical pitching prospect because he didn't necessarily put the numbers up on the radar gun," Orioles scout Bob Szymkowski, who signed Happ with the Phillies in 2004, told Sporting News. "Most times, he threw 86 to 88. But Jay had very good mound composure and competed very well. His best qualities were a very deceptive delivery in terms of his arm slot and the ability to mix all of his pitches and locate them on the perimeter of the strike zone. While he didn't have a power approach, he still had a great feel for pitching."
We reported the other day that the Phils plan to use Pedro Martinez in a potential Game 6, and the righthander remained on track for that by throwing a bullpen session today.
Cliff Lee would also be on full rest Friday, but the team’s plan---which, of course, is always subject to change--is to use Martinez.