Saint Louis (MLB.com) - In a year loaded with eye-catching rookies, particularly in the National League, Jaime Garcia's performance for the Cardinals stood out.
It stood out enough that the Topps Company awarded Garcia for his achievements by placing him on their 52nd annual Major League Rookie All-Star Team.
The team recognizes one player at each position on the field, one right-handed and one left-handed starter and one relief pitcher. Garcia received the nod as the game's top rookie lefty starter after going 13-8 with a 2.70 ERA, 132 strikeouts and 64 walks over 163 1/3 innings for the Cards this season.
Rounding out the Rookie All-Star Team were Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez, Pirates second baseman Neil Walker, Twins third baseman Danny Valencia, Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson, Marlins outfielder Mike Stanton, Braves outfielder Jason Heyward, Giants catcher Buster Posey, Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg and Rangers closer Neftali Feliz.
The honor for the 24-year-old Garcia was well-deserved, as his ERA was the fourth-best in the NL and his ballpark-adjusted ERA+ was a sparkling 145. Had he not been shut down for the season's final weeks to preserve his arm two years after Tommy John surgery, he might have added to his win total.
"One of the best rookie seasons by a pitcher that I can remember," manager Tony La Russa said recently. "Put it in the Alan Benes class, which is high praise."