Yu Darvish third in AL rookie voting

Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish finished third in the 2012 American League Rookie of the Year balloting as Mike Trout unanimously won the award.

The Rangers starter had nine second-place votes and 19 third-place tallies. Yoenis Cespedes beat out Darvish for runner up, garnering 19 votes for second place and six for third.

Darvish was 16-3 with a 3.90 ERA in 29 starts. He led all rookies in the big leagues with 221 strikeouts and 191 1/3 innings pitched. Opponents batted .220 against him, the third-lowest figure of any AL pitcher. He had the second-best strikeout-per-nine-inning mark (10.4) and was fifth overall in strikeouts. His 89 walks were the fourth-most in the AL as well. In other words: It was the best season for any Rangers rookie starting pitcher in franchise history.

Darvish joined Cleveland's Herb Score in 1955 as the only rookies in AL history with at least 16 wins and at least 210 strikeouts in a season.

Darvish's most impressive stretch was late in the season, when he won five of his last eight regular-season games. He was 5-0 with a 2.04 ERA in those starts, with 67 strikeouts and 15 walks. Then, he pitched a gem in the AL wild-card game, allowing two earned runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings. He left with the Rangers behind 2-1, but Derek Holland allowed an inherited run to score with two outs in the seventh. Darvish ended up getting the loss.

Still, it was a successful season for the 26-year-old pitcher from Japan. He had to make a host of adjustments, including learning a new country and culture, figuring out big-league hitters and trying to deal with all the pressure of representing Japan. After some inconsistencies, Darvish settled in and pitched like he did in Japan, when the Rangers were impressed enough to invest $51.7 million in a posting bid and another $56 million guaranteed to sign him.

My rookie ballot: 1. Trout; 2. Darvish; 3. Cespedes.