The Rookie of the Year award goes out to a first year player who had the most impressive debut season (excluding 2011 draftees).
Although Manny Machado made his pro debut in 2010, he received just 36 at-bats, so 2011 is essentially his rookie season. He missed about a month of the season due to a knee injury, but when he was on the field his performance was impressive.
Machado struck out just 25 times in 145 Delmarva at-bats while walking in 13.5% of his plate appearances and his .276/.376/.483 Sally stat line stands out.
While his .692 OPS at Frederick seems like a huge drop off, .700 was the 2011 league average OPS in the Carolina League. So as the youngest player in the league, Machado was an average offensive player.
Machado answered all questions about his bat and the concerns regarding his ability to play shortstop seem to have disappeared, as most who saw him feel comfortable saying he’ll stick at shortstop.