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Dontrelle Willis has a commanding view of the Marlins' clubhouse from his locker, which is located at the head of the room. Wherever Willis turns, he sees rookies.

 

There's Mike Jacobs, Scott Olsen, Josh Willingham and Josh Johnson off to his left. There is Dan Uggla, Hanley Ramirez, Reggie Abercrombie, Eric Reed and Jeremy Hermida over to his right. And across the way, there's Ricky Nolasco and Carlos Martinez.

 

Willis figures one of them will wind up winning the National League's Rookie of the Year award, just as he did in 2003.

 

''I think there's a lot of guys on this team that are going to get votes,'' Willis said. ``I guarantee we're going to have three of the top five.''

 

If the race turns out as hotly contested as Willis thinks it will, he said he might even bring his Rookie of the Year trophy to the clubhouse one day and drag it around like a greyhound lure.

 

''Like a rabbit,'' he said.

 

Willingham, Ramirez and Uggla have raced out to strong starts, emerging as early contenders, along with Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder, Colorado Rockies reliever Ramon Ramirez, Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Conor Jackson, Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Sean Marshall and Houston Astros starting pitcher Taylor Buchholz.

 

Among rookie hitters, Fielder leads the way with a .333 average, Willingham has the most home runs with seven, and Ramirez and Jackson are also hitting .300 or better.

 

As rookie pitchers, Buchholz (2-1) and Marshall (2-0) have helped to fill big voids in their teams' rotations. Houston's no longer contains Roger Clemens and Chicago is missing Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. Colorado's Ramirez has yet to allow a run (and only five hits) in nine relief appearances totaling 12 innings. He has struck out 16.

 

Other NL rookies drawing interest include San Diego Padres second baseman Josh Barfield, New York Mets pitcher Brian Bannister, and Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.

 

But the Marlins think they might have the inside track on this year's award.

 

ADVANTAGE: MARLINS

 

Their roster is not only stuffed with rookies, but many of them are regulars. Five of the Marlins' eight starting position players and one of their starting pitchers is a rookie.

 

''It would be nice to see the Rookie of the Year come from this team,'' Willingham said.

 

Said Uggla: ``There's probably a better chance than normal that the Rookie of the Year will come from this team because we have so many rookies. In order to be Rookie of the Year, you have to get the opportunity, get the at-bats, and that's something most of us are getting.''

 

Willis is the only Marlin ever to win the award, but he also serves as a reminder that the next winner might be a player who is not yet on an existing roster or was added recently. Willis, who didn't make his debut until three years ago today, won nine of his first 10 decisions, and ended up 14-6.

 

Willis said he likes what he sees in the young Marlins.

 

''We're playing aggressive,'' Willis said. ``With young guys, you usually see them playing tentative.''

 

GIRARDI ENCOURAGED

 

Even though he would prefer more wins, manager Joe Girardi said he can't complain about the effort the rookies are giving, even if the results aren't always there.

 

There's always a chance Jacobs and Abercrombie could snap out of their hitting slumps while the current front-runners begin to fade as the long summer heats up.

 

''You look at what Hammer's done,'' Girardi said of Willingham. ``You look at what Hanley's done, what Danny's done. J.J.'s been pretty good. Nolasco's been pretty good. Let's see if we can get a few more guys in that category.''

 

Girardi would never complain about having too many leading Rookie of the Year candidates, but said there could be a danger in having several.

 

''It's like when they talk about the Heisman Trophy sometimes,'' he said. ``They take votes away from each other like when you have Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart.''

 

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/sports/14532627.htm

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http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/sport...ll/14532627.htm

 

Florida's rookie tendencies may include award

With so many rookies in the starting lineup, the Marlins could have an advantage when it comes time to pick the NL Rookie of the Year.

 

BY CLARK SPENCER

cspencer@MiamiHerald.com

 

Dontrelle Willis has a commanding view of the Marlins' clubhouse from his locker, which is located at the head of the room. Wherever Willis turns, he sees rookies.

 

There's Mike Jacobs, Scott Olsen, Josh Willingham and Josh Johnson off to his left. There is Dan Uggla, Hanley Ramirez, Reggie Abercrombie, Eric Reed and Jeremy Hermida over to his right. And across the way, there's Ricky Nolasco and Carlos Martinez.

 

Willis figures one of them will wind up winning the National League's Rookie of the Year award, just as he did in 2003.

 

''I think there's a lot of guys on this team that are going to get votes,'' Willis said. ``I guarantee we're going to have three of the top five.''

 

If the race turns out as hotly contested as Willis thinks it will, he said he might even bring his Rookie of the Year trophy to the clubhouse one day and drag it around like a greyhound lure.

 

''Like a rabbit,'' he said.

 

Willingham, Ramirez and Uggla have raced out to strong starts, emerging as early contenders, along with Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder, Colorado Rockies reliever Ramon Ramirez, Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Conor Jackson, Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Sean Marshall and Houston Astros starting pitcher Taylor Buchholz.

 

Among rookie hitters, Fielder leads the way with a .333 average, Willingham has the most home runs with seven, and Ramirez and Jackson are also hitting .300 or better.

 

As rookie pitchers, Buchholz (2-1) and Marshall (2-0) have helped to fill big voids in their teams' rotations. Houston's no longer contains Roger Clemens and Chicago is missing Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. Colorado's Ramirez has yet to allow a run (and only five hits) in nine relief appearances totaling 12 innings. He has struck out 16.

 

Other NL rookies drawing interest include San Diego Padres second baseman Josh Barfield, New York Mets pitcher Brian Bannister, and Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.

 

But the Marlins think they might have the inside track on this year's award.

 

ADVANTAGE: MARLINS

 

Their roster is not only stuffed with rookies, but many of them are regulars. Five of the Marlins' eight starting position players and one of their starting pitchers is a rookie.

 

''It would be nice to see the Rookie of the Year come from this team,'' Willingham said.

 

Said Uggla: ``There's probably a better chance than normal that the Rookie of the Year will come from this team because we have so many rookies. In order to be Rookie of the Year, you have to get the opportunity, get the at-bats, and that's something most of us are getting.''

 

Willis is the only Marlin ever to win the award, but he also serves as a reminder that the next winner might be a player who is not yet on an existing roster or was added recently. Willis, who didn't make his debut until three years ago today, won nine of his first 10 decisions, and ended up 14-6.

 

Willis said he likes what he sees in the young Marlins.

 

''We're playing aggressive,'' Willis said. ``With young guys, you usually see them playing tentative.''

 

GIRARDI ENCOURAGED

 

Even though he would prefer more wins, manager Joe Girardi said he can't complain about the effort the rookies are giving, even if the results aren't always there.

 

There's always a chance Jacobs and Abercrombie could snap out of their hitting slumps while the current front-runners begin to fade as the long summer heats up.

 

''You look at what Hammer's done,'' Girardi said of Willingham. ``You look at what Hanley's done, what Danny's done. J.J.'s been pretty good. Nolasco's been pretty good. Let's see if we can get a few more guys in that category.''

 

Girardi would never complain about having too many leading Rookie of the Year candidates, but said there could be a danger in having several.

 

''It's like when they talk about the Heisman Trophy sometimes,'' he said. ``They take votes away from each other like when you have Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart.''

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The only one who has a real shot will be Ramierez. I think Willigham has an outside shot, but not much chance just because he is not the "sexy" pick. Anyone with numbers near those two will win it, because the baseball media is still punishing the Marlins for just being the Marlins......they have hated us since 1997, and winning again in 2003 only has made it worse, and the firesale this year is an embarassemnt to MLB.

 

The baseball media will not allow anything positive to happen to the Marlins because they thrive on our being a miserable and suffering franchise.

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The only one who has a real shot will be Ramierez. I think Willigham has an outside shot, but not much chance just because he is not the "sexy" pick. Anyone with numbers near those two will win it, because the baseball media is still punishing the Marlins for just being the Marlins......they have hated us since 1997, and winning again in 2003 only has made it worse, and the firesale this year is an embarassemnt to MLB.

 

The baseball media will not allow anything positive to happen to the Marlins because they thrive on our being a miserable and suffering franchise.

 

come on, the media isnt always out to get us

 

they did give DTrain the ROY in 2003

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