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Tigers' Austin Jackson Is Sporting News' Top AL Rookie

Austin Jackson faced a mountain of expectations coming into his first season with the Tigers after being acquired from the Yankees in a trade that sent fan favorite Curtis Granderson packing. Due to the love affair the majority of Tigers fans had with Granderson, it seemed like Jackson would need to have more than just an acceptable rookie season to appease the Granderson faithful. How's Sporting News' top AL rookie?

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Jackson, 23, had a batting average of .293 with 181 hits, 34 doubles, 10 triples and 27 steals in 151 games. He led all major league rookies in hits and steals.

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The Tigers' full-time center fielder playing in his first major league season had a .985 fielding percentage while handling 398 total chances. 

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By all accounts, that's a solid season for anybody, not just a rookie. He tailed off from May-September (after giving fans a first impression of 364/.422/.917 in April), but still hit a more than respectable .279/.330/.712 with 22 stolen bases during the final five months of the season. As noted above, his bat didn't do all the damage -- he made what may go down as one of the more memorable catches in Tigers' history with his Willie Mays-like grab to record the first out in the 9th inning of Armando Galarraga's "perfect" game on June 2.

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The Sporting News ROY was determined after polling 326 Major League players. While it isn't the official award, five of the last six Sporting News Rookie of the Year recipients also went on to be named the official MLB Rookie of the Year.