The winners of the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award, first of the end-of-the-season awards by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA), were announced today and Los Angeles Angels pitcher/designated hitter Shohei Ohtani and Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr took home the awards for their respective leagues.
Ohtani, the winner of the American League award, becomes the fourth Japanese player to take home the award. And it was well justified as Ohtani became the first true two-way player since Babe Ruth in 1919. As a starting pitcher, Ohtani made ten starts and went 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA before a ulnar collateral ligament injury that will require Tommy John surgery ended his season on the mound.
But the 23-year-old Ohtani continued to serve as a designated hitter through the rest of the season and succeeded beyond most analysts predictions. As a DH, Ohtani had 367 trips to the plate and hit .285/.361/.564 with 22 home runs, 61 RBI and ten steals.
Ohtani received 25 of 30 first-place votes. The other five went to second-place finisher, Yankees third baseman Miguel Andujar. Yankees second baseman (and former Cubs farmhand) Gleyber Torres and Rays second baseman Joey Wendle finished third and fourth in the voting. White Sox outfielder Daniel Palka and Rays pitcher Ryan Yarbrough each received one third-place vote.
Over in the National League, a pair of NL East outfielder both had terrific rookie campaigns. But in the end, the voters went with the Braves’ Acuña over the Nationals’ Juan Soto. Acuña played 111 games in 2018 and hit .293/.366/.552 with 26 home runs, 64 RBI and 16 steals.
Although it was expected to be a close vote, Acuña got 27 first-place votes to Soto’s two. Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehner, who finished third, got one first-place vote. Also receiving votes in the National League were Marlins third baseman/outfielder Brian Anderson, Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty, Cardinals outfielder Harrison Bader, Diamondbacks pitcher Yoshihisa Hirano and Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil.
The full list of the vote totals for the American League, along with the ballots of each writer who voted, can be found at this link. The full vote totals and ballots for the National League vote is available here.
Tomorrow, the Manager of the Year award will be announced.