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Should Brian Matusz be in the Top 3 in AL Rookie voting?

The 2010 BBWAA awards will be announced over the next eight days, starting with Monday's unveiling of the American League and National League Rookies of the Year. It will become official at 2 p.m.

Before the season started, Orioles lefty Brian Matusz was considered one of AL favorites, but a rough middle of the season likely crushed his chances.

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Matusz ended the year 10-12 with a respectable 4.30 ERA. He led AL rookies in starts (32), innings pitched (175 2/3) and strikeouts (143).

Ultimately, the award winner is expected to be Texas Rangers closer Neftali Feliz, who was 4-3 with a 2.73 ERA in 70 games. He converted 40 of 43 saves for the American League champions and struck out 71 batters while walking just 18 in the regular season.

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The runners-up could be a pair of Detroit Tigers outfielders.

Austin Jackson, my preseason pick for the award, led AL rookies in at-bats (618), stolen bases (27), runs scored (103), hits (181) and strikeouts (170) while batting .293 with a .345 on-base percentage. He also played very good defense.

Brennan Boesch led AL rookies with 14 homers and 67 RBIs in just 464 at-bats while hitting .256 with a .320 on-base percentage.

Both have chinks in their rookie armor, but they had pretty good seasons, nonetheless.

Another rookie who may get some consideration is Minnesota Twins infielder Danny Valencia, who batted .311 with a .351 on-base percentage, adding seven homers and 40 RBIs (one fewer than Jackson) in just 299 at-bats. And he did it for a playoff team.

Frankly, it's tough for a starting pitcher to win the award unless his season was incredible or there weren't any viable offensive or closing candidates. Voters tend to reward rookies who play more than every fifth day.

That said, Matusz probably would have made voters think a little more had he not gone 0-4 with a 7.50 ERA in May or 1-2 with a 8.10 ERA in July. Otherwise, his numbers were excellent. His biggest competition among starters is from the Tampa Bay Rays' Wade Davis, who was 12-10 with a 4.07 ERA in 29 starts.

Matusz may get a couple votes for third, but I doubt he'll garner more than that.

I want to know: If you had a vote, would you put Matusz in your top three (that's how BBWAA voters do it)? Orioles fandom aside, does he deserve to be a top-three vote-getter this season?

If not, what would your top three be?

By the way, here's the schedule for the vote announcements: Monday, AL and NL rookies; Tuesday, NL Cy Young; Wednesday, AL and NL managers; Thursday, AL Cy Young; Monday, Nov. 22, NL MVP; Tuesday, Nov. 23, AL MVP.

Daily Think Special: Should Brian Matusz finish in the Top 3 of AL Rookie of the Year voting?

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