Ángel Maria Berroa Selmo (born January 27, 1977) is a Dominican former professional baseball infielder. Berroa was selected as the 2003 American League Rookie of the Year. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and New York Mets.
Berroa with the New York Yankees
|Born: January 27, 1977|
Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic
|September 18, 2001, for the Kansas City Royals|
|Last MLB appearance|
|August 6, 2009, for the New York Mets|
|Runs batted in||254|
|Career highlights and awards|
Berroa was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Oakland Athletics in 1997. He made his professional debut in the Arizona Fall League in 1999 and then played briefly with the A's Double-A team, the Midland RockHounds. In 2000, with the Visalia Oaks in the Single-A California League he received an honorable mention on the California League All-Star team when he recorded 11 doubles and stole 11 bases in 129 games.
Berroa was acquired in 2001 by the Kansas City Royals from the Oakland Athletics in a three-way trade also involving the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Kansas City acquired Berroa, relief pitcher Roberto Hernández, and backup catcher A. J. Hinch in exchange for Johnny Damon and infielder Mark Ellis. He spent the 2001 season with the Single-A Wilmington Blue Rocks and the Double-A Wichita Wranglers.
He made his major league debut on September 18, 2001 for the Royals against the Cleveland Indians as a defensive replacement and went 0–1 in his debut. He recorded his first career Major League hit in his first career start, at shortstop on September 25 off of Detroit Tigers pitcher José Lima. He played in a total of 15 games that season and hit .302 in 53 at-bats.
In 2002, he spent most of the season with the Triple-A Omaha Royals. He was selected to play for the World Team in the All-Star Futures Game and also played in the Pacific Coast League All-Star Game. He appeared in twenty games for the Royals after a September call-up.
Berroa was handed the starting shortstop job at the start of the 2003 season after the departure of Neifi Pérez (despite hitting a disappointing .194 in the previous season's Dominican Winter League). Berroa started the season hitting ninth in the batting order and committing 19 errors in his first 63 games. However, he finished the season with a .287 batting average with 17 home runs, 73 RBI, and 21 stolen bases, and committed only five more errors the rest of the season. Late in the season, manager Tony Peña moved Berroa to the top of the batting order, and Berroa's performance sparked a media debate over who should be the American League Rookie of the Year: Berroa, Devil Rays outfielder Rocco Baldelli, Cleveland Indians outfielder Jody Gerut, or New York Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui, a former star in the Japanese Baseball Central League.
Berroa became the fourth member of the Royals to win the Rookie of the Year award, following Lou Piniella (1969), Bob Hamelin (1994), and Carlos Beltrán (1999). The decision was controversial as Berroa beat out both Baldelli and Matsui in the closest vote since 1980, prompting criticism from Yankee owner George Steinbrenner. While some players and sports writers believe veteran Japanese players who come to play baseball in the United States should not be considered rookies, Major League Baseball rules allow them to win the award. Debate over the definition of a rookie aside, Berroa's backers pointed to their identical batting averages and Berroa's greater home run total while hitting in a weaker Kansas City lineup and playing a more demanding position. Matsui's backers pointed to his higher RBI total and on-base percentage while playing in the media spotlight of New York City, and previous Rookie of the Year Awards having been given to countrymen Hideo Nomo and Ichiro Suzuki.
Following his rookie year, Berroa's performance went down annually in on-base percentage, runs, slugging percentage, and stolen bases. His fielding statistics included 77 errors from 2003 to 2005 (24, 28 —leading all Major League shortstops while he had the lowest fielding percentage among shortstops – .955, 25) that were the most among starting American League shortstops in that time span. Berroa has also produced declining walk totals in the years after his Rookie of the Year award. Berroa walked once every 21 plate appearances in 2003, but had fallen to a 36-to-1 PA/BB ratio in 2005. In both 2005 and 2006, he walked only 2.9% of the time, the second-worst and then the worst percentage in Major League Baseball. In 2006, he was last among AL qualifiers in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.
The disappointment in Berroa's development may be related to being caught up in the "Age-gate" fiasco in early 2002 when many Latin American players, subjected to greater scrutiny by the United States government, turned out to be older than they claimed. Berroa was two years older than thought when he was drafted by Oakland and traded to Kansas City.
After a disappointing 2007 spring training, the Royals traded for another shortstop, Tony Peña, Jr. Berroa, having lost his starting shortstop role, spent most of the 2007 season in Triple-A Omaha, appearing in only nine games for the Major League club. He again failed to make the 2008 club and spent the first two months in Omaha.
On June 6, 2008, he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers (who were looking for a temporary replacement for injured starter Rafael Furcal). Berroa received a surprisingly large amount of playing time, hitting .230 over 226 at-bats and starting 64 games at shortstop (appeared in 84 games overall). Notably, he showed increased patience at the plate, drawing more walks than in any season since 2004 despite not playing a full season. Additionally, he had one hit in two at-bats while appearing in five games in the postseason.
On January 6, 2009, Berroa agreed to a minor league deal worth $900,000 with the New York Yankees. Despite a strong performance in spring training, he did not make the Opening Day roster. He was added to the major league roster on April 25 following the injury to INF Cody Ransom. He got his first hit with the Yankees that same day. He was designated for assignment on June 24 upon Ransom's return from the 60-day DL, and was granted his release on July 7.
On July 11, 2009 the New York Mets signed Berroa to a minor league contract assigned him to Triple-A Buffalo. On July 16, 2009, his contract was purchased by the major league club. He was designated for assignment on August 7, 2009. He finished the season having played a combined 35 games with 49 at-bats and a .391 OPS for the Yankees and the Mets.
On December 17, 2009, Berroa was signed to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training by the Dodgers. However, he failed to make the team and was released by the Dodgers on March 22, 2010.
On April 28, 2010, Berroa signed a minor league contract with the Giants. After a disappointing performance filling in while the AAA Fresno Grizzlies had a lack of depth at shortstop, Berroa was placed on the 7-day disabled list. On June 26, he was activated from the disabled list and released.
On April 4, 2012, the New Jersey Jackals of the Can-Am League announced that they had signed Berroa. On July 26, 2012, it was announced that Berroa had formally retired from baseball and is seeking a job in professional soccer.
| Players Choice AL Most Outstanding Rookie
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The 2002 Kansas City Royals season involved the Royals finishing 4th in the American League Central with a record of 62 wins and 100 losses, their first 100 loss season in franchise history.2003 Kansas City Royals season
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The 2008 Los Angeles Dodgers season featured the Dodgers celebrating their Golden Anniversary in Southern California under new manager Joe Torre as they won the National League West for the first time since 2004, and returned to the postseason after missing the playoffs in 2007. They swept the Chicago Cubs in the NLDS to advance to the NLCS. It was their first playoff series win since 1988 when they went on to win the World Series. However, they lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in five games in the NLCS.2009 New York Mets season
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The Rookie of the Month award is a Major League Baseball award named by each league every month of the regular season.Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year Award
In Major League Baseball, the Rookie of the Year Award is annually given to one player from each league as voted on by the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA). The award was established in 1940 by the Chicago chapter of the BBWAA, which selected an annual winner from 1940 through 1946. The award became national in 1947; Jackie Robinson, the Brooklyn Dodgers' second baseman, won the inaugural award. One award was presented for both leagues in 1947 and 1948; since 1949, the honor has been given to one player each in the National and American League. Originally, the award was known as the J. Louis Comiskey Memorial Award, named after the Chicago White Sox owner of the 1930s. The award was renamed the Jackie Robinson Award in July 1987, 40 years after Jackie Robinson broke the baseball color line.
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