The Baseball Writers Association of America handed out the American and National League Rookies of the year Monday night, and there were no surprises in who the awards went to. Mike Trout won the AL ROY while Bryce Harper won the NL ROY.
Trout became just the second Angel to win the Rookie of the Year Award. The only other time the franchise won the award came in 1993 when the Angels were still known as the California Angels. Back then, Tim Salmon won the award by unanimous vote. Monday, when the results were announced, Trout had collected all 28 votes and became just the 8th unanimous winner in the American League and the first since Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria in 2008. There have been 10 total unanimous ROY Award winners in the National League. Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel was the most recent one year ago.
Trout, at age 21, also became the youngest player in the history of the American League to win the award.
At the plate, Trout missed the first month of the season while still in the minor leagues, but once he was called up, Trout went on a tear. He finished the season with 30 home runs while leading the American League in both stolen bases with 49 and runs scored with 129. Trout finished second in batting average (.326) and third in on-base percentage (.399) and slugging (.564). He also became the first player to ever have 45 or more stolen bases, 125 or more runs scored, 30 or more home runs and hit .320 or better all in the same season.
But it wasn’t just his offense that won him the award. In the field Trout robbed opposing hitters of four home runs over the course of the season.
The other American League finalists for the award were Yoenis Cespedes of the Oakland Athletics and Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers. While Cespedes was not named on all 28 ballots (he was left off of three), he still totaled more votes than Darvish who was on all 28 ballots. Cespedes finished second in the voting with 19 second place votes and 6 third place votes, good for 63 points while Darvish picked up 9 second place votes and 19 third place votes for 46 points.
The three voters that did not list Cespedes on their ballots were: John Eisenberg out of the Baltimore area, Jim Alexander of the Riverside Press Enterprise in the Anaheim area, and Michi Murayama of the Tokyo (Japan) Chunichi Sports. Murayama and Eisenberg both had their three as Trout, Darvish and Wei-Yen Chen of Baltimore while Alexander’s top three were Trout, Darvish and Jarrod Parker of Oakland.
Unlike the American League voting, the National League Rookie of the Year award voting was a lot closer. Harper was the only National League rookie to be named on all 32 ballots. Harper received 16 first place votes, 8 second place votes and 8 third place votes. Harper beat out Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Wade Miley (second place) and Cincinnati Reds third baseman Todd Frazier (third palce).
Miley finished just 7 votes behind Harper and was left off of one ballot, that of San Diego Union-Tribune sports writer Bill Center. Center had Harper first, Frazier second and Yonder Alonso of the Padres third.
The seven point difference was the fourth closest voting total in the history of the National League. The closest National League race ever was in 2007 when Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun beat Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki by two points (128-126). After that, the next two closest were in 2006 when Florida shortstop Hanley Ramirez beat Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman 105-101 and in 1982 when Steve Sax of the Dodgers beat Johnny Ray of the Pirates 63-57.
Since the Nationals moved to Washington, Harper became the first player to win the ROY Award. Previous winners while the team was in Montreal included Carl Morton and Hall of Famer Andre Dawson. Harper, who turned 20 in October, missed becoming the youngest National League player to win the award by one month. That record belongs to Dwight “Doc” Gooden of the New York Mets.
The rest of the National League rookies who received votes were Wilin Rosario (Colorado) with 12 points including one first place vote, Norichika Aoki (Milwaukee) with 11 points, Alonso (San Diego) with 1 point, Matt Carpenter (St. Louis) with 1 point, and Jordan Pachecho (Colorado) with 1 point.
Tonight the American League and National League Managers of the Year will be announced.