Rookie of the Year candidates. 37 comments

It’s MBL Awards week. And the first to be announced today is the award for Rookie of the Year in each league. Here are the finalists:

American League Rookie of the Year:

Miguel Andujar, 3B, Yankees: To go with his 27 homers, which tied the White Sox outfielder Daniel Palka for the Major League lead among rookies, Andujar also set a Yankees rookie record with 47 doubles, surpassing Joe DiMaggio’s 44 in 1936.

Shohei Ohtani, RHP/DH, Angels: Billed as the “Japanese Babe Ruth,” Ohtani delivered, becoming the first player since Ruth with 10 pitching appearances and 20 homers in a season. Though a right elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery prevented him from pitching in the second half, he was above average both in 51 2/3 innings pitched (126 ERA+) and in 367 plate appearances (152 OPS+).

Gleyber Torres, 2B, Yankees: Though Andujar eventually overtook him in several key categories, Torres finished with a solid .271/.340/.480 slash line to go with 24 homers and 16 doubles.

National League Rookie of the Year:

Ronald Acuna Jr., OF, Braves: The 20-year-old had the third-highest OPS of any player in baseball in the second half (1.028) and finished with 26 homers, 16 steals and a .552 slugging percentage. His ascension to the leadoff spot after the All-Star break sparked the Braves in the NL East race.

Walker Buehler, RHP, Dodgers: The votes came in before Buehler truly flipped the star switch with a terrific postseason. But his regular season had plenty of highlights, too. Buehler’s 2.31 ERA as a starter was the lowest by a rookie with at least 130 innings since Jose Fernandez’s 2.19 mark in 2013.

Juan Soto, OF, Nationals: The 19-year-old wound up in the teenage-season record books for second-most homers (22, tied with teammate Bryce Harper from 2012), most multihomer games (three), most walks (79) and highest OBP (.406) and OPS (.923).