The group of writers from the Baseball Writers’ Association of American cast their votes for National League and American League Rookies of the Year.
From the National League, Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. took home the honors. Out of the 30 ballots filled out by the BWAA writers, 27 people voted for Acuna. Among the three people who didn’t vote Acuna for first place were Jesse Rogers of Chicago and Todd Dybas of Washington D.C., who gave their top votes to Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto, and Mikako Niwa of Los Angeles, who gave his top choice to Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler.
Through 111 games this past season, Acuna slashed .293/.366/.552 with 64 runs batted in on 26 homers. He recorded 56 extra base hits, while walking 45 times and striking out 123. He also stole 16 bases throughout 21 attempts. Acuna helped lead the Braves to the playoffs this season, and it was expected throughout the majority of the season that Acuna would win the award.
Meanwhile, Juan Soto and Walker Buehler had strong seasons, but ultimately fell short of Acuna. Through 116 games, Soto slashed .292/.406/.517 with 70 runs knocked in on 22 home runs, totaling 48 extra base hits. He stole five bases on seven attempts, and he walked 79 times while striking out 99. Buehler had a great season on the mound for the Dodgers, who benefited from his help en route to their second straight World Series appearance. Through 23 starts and one relief appearance, Buehler went 8-5 with a 2.62 earned run average. Through 137.1 innings, he allowed 40 earned runs on 95 hits, including twelve homers. He also walked 37 batters and struck out 151.
In the American League, Los Angeles Angels two-way player Shohei Ohtani won the Rookie of the Year award, becoming just the fourth Japanese-born player to do so. Ohtani is unique because he pitches and hits, and has even been compared to Babe Ruth for his multi-position talents. Ohtani’s season was cut short due to a shoulder injury, but when he did play, he was dominant. The only other player to receive first place votes in the American League was New York Yankees infielder Miguel Andujar, who received votes from Coley Harvey of New York, Julian McWilliams of Oakland, Dick Scanlon and Juan Toribio of Tampa Bay, and Stephen Hawkins of Texas. Yankees infielder Gleyber Torres and Tampa Bay Rays infielder Joey Wendle finished in third and fourth place, respectively.
Ohtani played in 104 games as a hitter this season, slashing .285/.361/.564 with 61 runs batted in on 22 homers, totaling 55 extra base hits. He stole ten bases on fourteen attempts, walking 37 times and striking out 102 times. On the mound, the young phenom had 10 appearances, all of which were starts, going 4-2 with a 3.31 earned run average. Through 51.2 innings, he surrendered 19 runs on 38 hits, including six homers. He walked 22 batters while striking out 63, and will spent this season training and rehabbing so he can return for an even better 2019 season.
Of the top finalists for the rookie of the year awards, Miguel Andujar played in the most games. Through 149 games, he slashed .297/.328/.527 with 92 runs batted in on 27 homers, with a grand total of 76 extra base knocks. He walked 25 times and struck out 97.
The Rookie of the Year awards presentation is just the first of many major awards to be announced over the next few days. Managers of the Year will be announced Tuesday, Cy Young Awards will be given on Wednesday, and the awards ceremonies will wrap up on Thursday with the Most Valuable Player Announcements.
There’s a bright future for Acuna and Ohtani, and their respective teams. In the end, they were the most deserving recipients of these awards, and it’s just the beginning of their fabulous careers.