NEW YORK (AP) — San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey and Texas Rangers closer Neftali Feliz met again Monday when they were voted the Rookies of the Year.
Posey, who hit several key home runs and helped the Giants win the World Series for the first time since 1954, easily outdistanced Atlanta outfielder Jason Heyward for the National League award.
Posey was picked first on 20 of 32 ballots in voting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Voting was done by two members of the BBWAA in each league city after the regular season, with each person listing players. Posey, promoted to majors in late May, was left off the ballot by Yasushi Kikuchi of Kyodo News from the Los Angeles-Anaheim chapter.
Feliz, the rocket-armed righty from the Dominican Republic who set a rookie record with 40 saves as Texas reached the World Series for the first time, finished far ahead of Detroit center fielder Austin Jackson for the AL honor.
Feliz was chosen first on 20 of the 28 ballots. He drew seven seconds and one third.
Posey started the season at Triple-A. He quickly adjusted to the big leagues — both at the plate and behind it.
Posey hit .305 with 18 home runs and 67 RBIs. He homered eight times after Sept. 1 in leading the Giants to the NL West title, and his homer on the final day of the regular season helped them clinch the division. He also had a 21-game hitting streak.
The 23-year-old Posey hit third and even cleanup for the Giants as they won the World Series in five games and brought the crown to San Francisco for the first time. He was equally praised for handling a pitching staff that seemed to get better throughout the postseason.
Gerald Demp Posey became the first Rookie of the Year winner to also become a World Series champion in the same season since Boston’s Dustin Pedroia in 2007. The last NL player to do it was Florida’s Dontrelle Willis in 2003.
Posey finished with 129 points in the rookie voting. Heyward, who hit .277 with 18 home runs and 72 RBIs, got nine first-place ballots and 107 points.
St. Louis pitcher Jaime Garcia got one first-place vote and 24 points. Florida first baseman Gaby Sanchez got the other two first-place votes and had 18 points.
Posey was the sixth Giants player to win the honor that was first awarded to Jackie Robinson in 1947. Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, Gary Matthews and John Montefusco also won, with Montefusco the most recent in 1975.
Six catchers have won in the NL, with the Cubs’ Geovany Soto the most recent in 2008.
Feliz went 4-3 with a 2.73 ERA in 59 games and finished with 122 points. Jackson, who hit .293, scored 103 runs and showed great range in center field, drew the other eight first-place votes and had 98 points. Minnesota third baseman Danny Valencia was third with 12 points.
Feliz won despite not starting out the season as the Texas closer. Frank Francisco held that role, but lost the spot after blowing two early save chances and Feliz took over.
The 22-year-old Feliz broke the rookie saves record of 37 set by 2000 AL Rookie of the Year Kazuhiro Sasaki of Seattle. Feliz later became the second-youngest pitcher to earn a save in the World Series, behind only Bob Welch.
This was the third time in the last six seasons that a closer has won the AL award. Oakland’s Andrew Bailey won last year and Huston Street of the A’s won in 2005.
Feliz became the second Texas player to win, joining Mike Hargrove from 1974.
The NL Cy Young will be the next award to be announced. Philadelphia ace Roy Halladay is considered the front-runner Tuesday.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.