Astros outfielder Yordan Alvarez and Mets first baseman Pete Alonso were named the rookies of the year in the American and National Leagues, respectively. The former was a unanimous choice, while the latter received top placement from all but one of the ROY voters from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
It’s a power-packed duo, to say the least. While slugging numbers were up around the game, these two still stood out.
Alvarez, 22, didn’t force his way onto a loaded Astros roster until mid-season. But he still swatted 27 long balls in his 369 plate appearances. And his half-season offensive numbers were … well, astronomical. Among players with at least three hundred attempts, he came in a close second in all of baseball in wRC+ (his 178 just lagged Mike Trout) and slugging percentage (.655, just trailing Christian Yelich).
The 24-year-old Alonso did damage all year long, on both sides of a memorable Home Run Derby victory. He appeared in all but one of the Mets’ games, slugging a league-leading 53 dingers while topping the century mark in runs and ribbies. It wasn’t just counting stats; Alonso wrapped up his debut season with an excellent .260/.358/.583 batting line.
The rest of the American League field fell well shy of Alvarez in output. But that’s not to say there weren’t nice performances. Surprise Orioles hurler John Means landed in second place, another nice bit of recognition for one of the least-likely All Stars in the history of baseball. Brandon Lowe of the Rays, Eloy Jimenez of the White Sox, and Cavan Biggio of the Blue Jays finished 3-4-5.
There was certainly stiffer competition on the N.L. side. Third-place finisher Fernando Tatis Jr. may well have commanded the award (or at least forced a photo finish) had his season not been cut short. And the man in second, Braves hurler Mike Soroka, had his own strong claim to the award. He picked up one first-pace vote after turning in 174 2/3 innings of 2.68 ERA pitching — no minor accomplishment in a season filled with the offensive exploits of so many. Pirates standout Bryan Reynolds landed fourth with his own excellent campaign, while Cardinals hurler Dakota Hudson and Nationals outfielder Victor Robles each also received down-ballot votes.