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Baseball's Rookies

Ichiro is running away with the AL rookie of the year award.
Ichiro is running away with the AL rookie of the year award.

Ichiro may be getting most of baseball's headlines but he's not the only rookie with a cool name who's having a great year. Here's a look at some of the top first year players of the 2001 season.

American League
Ichiro will be named the top rookie in the American League even if he doesn't get another hit and drops every fly ball for the rest of the season. The Seattle Mariners' outfielder is near the top of the league in batting average, hits, runs and stolen bases. His team is in first place, he goes by one name, there's been bobblehead dolls made of him and now there's a word called Ichiromania. Enough said.

There have been other decent first year players in the American League but no one's really noticed them because everyone's too busy trying to find out what Ichiro eats for breakfast and how many times he goes to the can each day. Cleveland pitcher, C.C. Sabathia, has been a solid starter for a team that has weak starting pitchers. He'll win at least 15 games in 2001 and will be one of the reasons the Indians win the Central Division. Yankees second baseman, Alfonso Soriano, also deserves some consideration as a top rookie. He'll finish with at least 40 stolen bases and 70 RBIs (runs batted in) and gives the Yanks a chance to move Chuck Knoblach into left field.

National League
The winner of the NL's top rookie should go to Albert Pujols of the Cardinals. Albert leads his team in batting average, homeruns and RBIs while playing both the outfield and third base. But the coolest thing about Albert? His last name is pronounced Poo-Holes.

Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies will also get a few rookie of the year votes. Jimmy has stolen 40 bases and made just 10 errors while helping the Phillies stay in the playoff hunt.

For more on homeruns, strikeouts and stolen bases, head to Baseball.

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