SEATTLE -- If they'd held the American League Rookie of the Year voting at midseason, hard-throwing Mariners right-hander Michael Pineda likely would have been a runaway winner.
Instead, the 22-year-old Dominican hurler finished fifth in voting for the AL Rookie of the Year Award, announced on Monday by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, as Tampa Bay right-hander Jeremy Hellickson earned the honor.
Hellickson, 24, was an impressive 13-10 with a 2.95 ERA and 189 innings, posting a .210 opponents' batting average.
Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo, Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer and Yankees righty Ivan Nova followed Hellickson in the BBWAA balloting, with Pineda fifth and Mariners teammate Dustin Ackley sixth.
Pineda certainly would have finished higher had he not slowed considerably in the final two months of the season. He still presented a strong case for the award, leading all AL rookies in strikeouts (173), WHIP (walks plus hits per inning) at 1.10, most strikeouts per nine innings (9.11) and fewest walks per nine innings (2.89), while finishing second in innings (171 1/3), quality starts (19) and opponents' batting average (.211).
2011 AL ROOKIE OF YEAR VOTING
Voting results for AL Rookie of the Year, conducted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America
Those were all impressive numbers for the imposing 6-foot-7, 260-pound youngster, who finished his first season with a 9-10 record and a 3.74 ERA.
But the second-half tailoff clearly dropped Pineda down in a strong class of AL rookies after he'd hit the All-Star break with an 8-6 record and a 3.03 ERA that earned him a berth in the Midsummer Classic, where he pitched a perfect inning.
In the remainder of the season, Pineda went 1-4 with a 5.12 ERA. The Mariners worked to limit his innings, skipping several starts and using a six-man rotation over the final six weeks of the season as Pineda soared past his previous career high of 139 1/3 frames.
But the decrease in starts, combined with a lack of run support, resulted in no victories for Pineda over the final two months. His last win came against Tampa Bay on July 30, when he allowed just one hit and one earned run with 10 strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
Pineda made just seven starts the rest of the way, going 0-3 with a 4.39 ERA. Though he allowed more than three runs in just one of those appearances, he never managed that elusive 10th victory.
"It's a long season, but I worked hard every day for my body and everything," Pineda said before heading home to the Dominican for the offseason. "I felt good and strong because I wanted to help my team win and get in the playoffs. Next year, I want to pitch in October -- in the playoffs."
Ackley also had an impressive first year for a Mariners squad that played 18 rookies, but he spent the first 2 1/2 months at Triple-A Tacoma before getting the call on June 17. The 23-year-old second baseman hit .273 with six home runs and 36 RBIs in 90 games.
Ackley led all AL rookies in walks (40) and was second in triples (seven) and on-base percentage (.348), while finishing fifth in batting average, seventh in RBIs and extra-base hits (29) and ninth in slugging percentage (.417).
Mike Carp didn't receive any votes for AL Rookie of the Year. He arrived a month later than Ackley in his second callup of the season for Seattle but still finished second among AL rookies in slugging percentage (.466), fourth in RBIs (46), home runs (12) and batting average (.276) and sixth in extra-base hits (30) and on-base percentage (.326).
Braves closer Craig Kimbrel was a unanimous selection for National League Rookie of the Year.
The Rookie of the Year Awards were the first of the national BBWAA honors to be announced. The AL Cy Young Award will be named on Tuesday, the AL and NL Managers of the Year will come on Wednesday and the NL Cy Young Award will follow on Thursday, with the league MVP honors to come next week.