The most bizarre result of the Rookie of the Year balloting was not that two voters took it upon themselves to re-write the eligibility rules and leave Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui completely off the AL ticket. It was that seven voters totally ignored Arizona pitcher Brandon Webb in the NL race. It's easy to argue that Webb had a better season than the winner, Dontrelle Willis (but not a more flashy start or a more photogenic delivery). Just consider this side-by-side comparison (right).
Webb topped Willis in all those categories. Voters obviously preferred Willis' style and his won-lost record, where his 14-6 mark looked much slicker than Webb's 10-9 record. Won-lost records, however, should only be part of the equation.
Each pitcher averaged 4.6 runs per start of support. But what hurt Webb was how those runs were apportioned. He pitched 12 games in which his team scored zero, one or two runs. He was 1-7 with four no-decisions in those games. Indeed, Webb's first seven losses occurred by these soccer scores: 5-2, 3-1, 2-0, 2-1, 3-1, 3-2 and 3-1.
Willis pitched in seven games with two or fewer runs. He was 3-3 with one no-decision in those contests.