Tag Archives: Rookie of the Year

Four Phillies have won the NL Rookie of the Year Award

Sanford was the Phillies first Rookie of the Year Award winner in 1957.


In a scheduled 6:00 pm EST telecast this evening on MLB Network, the 2019 Major League Baseball Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Awards will be announced.

These are the official awards for the National and American League’s top first-year players as chosen in voting by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Finalists for the NL honors are first baseman Pete Alonso of the New York Mets, starting pitcher Mike Soroka of the Atlanta Braves, and shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.of the San Diego Padres.

Over in the AL the finalists are OF/DH Yordan Alvarez of the Houston Astros, 2B/OF Brandon Lowe of the Tampa Bay Rays, and starting pitcher John Means of the Baltimore Orioles.

(UPDATE: After original publication of this piece it was announced that Alonso and Alvarez had won the NL & AL awards respectively.)

Winners of the IBWAA (Internet Baseball Writers Association of America) Rookies of the Year were announced earlier in the day. Those awards went to Alonso in the NL, with Alvarez capturing the AL honors.

The Chicago chapter of the BBWAA established the original Rookie of the Year Award in 1940 and voted on a single winner for all of baseball through the 1946 season.

In 1947, voting went national, and the winner was the racial barrier-breaking Robinson. Beginning in 1949 a separate award was given for the top rookie in each league.

Originally named the J. Louis Comiskey award after the 1930’s-era Chicago White Sox owner, it was renamed as the Jackie Robinson Award in July 1987 on the 40th anniversary of his breaking baseball’s unofficial color barrier.

The Philadelphia Phillies have seen four players take home the award as NL Rookie of the Year.

The first of these was Jack Sanford. A right-handed pitcher from Massachusetts, Sanford was signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent prior to the 1948 season. He made his first big-league appearances during a brief three-game cup of coffee in 1956.

During his official rookie campaign the following year at age 28, Sanford made 33 starts, going 19-8 with a 3.08 ERA for a .500 ball club. Sanford allowed just 194 hits over 236.2 innings with 188 strikeouts, a figure that led the National League.

For his outstanding freshman season, Sanford not only took home the NL Rookie of the Year award, but was also named to the NL All-Star team that year. In addition, he finished 10th in the NL MVP voting.

Seven years later, in what would become an infamous 1964 campaign for the Fightin’ Phils, a slugging 22-year-old third baseman named Dick Allen took the honors in the National League.

Allen (featured picture accompanying this piece) had also received a cup of coffee in September prior to his breakout season, hitting .292 over 25 plate appearances across 10 games in September of 1963.

The following year, Allen (known then as ‘Richie’) led the Phillies to the front of the National League, a position the club would hold until collapsing with 10 consecutive late-September losses left them a game off the pennant pace.

Allen’s power-speed combination in the middle of manager Gene Mauch‘s lineup made all of the difference. He slashed .318/.382/.557 with 29 home runs, 91 RBIs, and 125 runs scored.

Among his 80 extra-base hits were a league-leading 13 triples, and Allen led all of Major League Baseball with 352 total bases.

In addition to capturing that year’s NL Rookie of the Year honors, Allen finished 7th in the NL Most Valuable Player voting.

It would be more than three decades before another Phillies rookie took home the honors. Once again it would be a dynamic, slugging third baseman. But that player very nearly did not qualify for the award.

Requirements for the MLB Rookie of the Year Awards are that a player must have fewer than 130 official at-bats or fewer than 50 innings pitched in order to be eligible. They must also have fewer than 45 days on the active roster, excluding time on the disabled list, in military service, or time when the rosters are expanded.

In 1996, Scott Rolen was called up for an August 1 doubleheader against Saint Louis at Veteran’s Stadium. He would play so well that he was never sent back to the minor league.

Rolen hit .254 with four homers, seven doubles, 18 RBIs, and 10 runs scored over his first 146 big-league plate appearances with the Phillies across 37 games that summer.

Then, in the bottom of the third inning of a September 7 game at Veteran’s Stadium, Rolen was hit by a pitch thrown by Chicago Cubs starter Steve Trachsel. He would be pulled from the game, and miss the rest of the season.

That left Rolen a single at-bat shy of exhausting his rookie eligibility. With it still intact the following year, he would become a runaway winner in the 1997 Rookie of the Year voting.

That season, Rolen slashed .283/.377/.469 with 21 homers, 59 extra-base hits, 92 RBIs, 93 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases. He also played the hot corner like no one had since Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt nearly a decade earlier, and like no one has since.

Eight years later, in 2005, a hulking first baseman named Ryan Howard would become the fourth and most recent Phillies player to win those Rookie of the Year honors.

Howard may have been ready for his big-league debut a year earlier, but was blocked by future Hall of Famer Jim Thome. Howard did receive his own September cup of coffee promotion in 2004, blasting a pair of home runs over 42 plate appearances across 19 games.

Thome was still manning the first base position at Citizens Bank Park when that 2005 season began, so Howard again began the season at Triple-A.

However, an injury to Thome opened the door for an opportunity, and Howard  was called up on May 3 for what would be another dozen games. The injury to Thome’s elbow would persist, eventually costing his season. Howard came back on July 2 to stay.

Over the final four months of the season, Howard slashed .296/.365/.585 and became one of the most feared middle-order hitters in the game. He blasted 21 homers with 62 RBIs over just 318 plate appearances in that stretch.

During the ensuing off-season, Thome would be traded away to the Chicago White Sox for a package led by center fielder Aaron Rowand. Howard would become ‘The Big Piece’ in the middle of the lineup for five straight NL East Division champs, back-to-back NL pennant winners, and the 2008 World Series champions.

While a member of the Washington Nationals, Bryce Harper took the honors as National League Rookie of the Year as a 19-year-old back in 2012. Harper hit .270 with 22 home runs, 57 extra-base hits, 59 RBIs, 98 runs scored, and 18 stolen bases after being called up on April 28.

Seager Should Be Unanimous NL Rookie of the Year

This coming Monday evening on the MLB Network, baseball’s official National League Rookie of the Year Award winner will be announced.  
It says here that if the voters get it right, not only will they give the honor to Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager, but they will give him that award with a unanimous vote.
There was a time when this award seemed to be owned by the Dodgers organization. Between 1992-96, five straight Dodgers players captured the award.

Dodgers ROY History

In that stretch, Eric Karros (’92), Mike Piazza (’93), Raul Mondesi (’94), Hideo Nomo(’95) and Todd Hollandsworth (’96) received the NL honors.
Just over a decade earlier, four straight Dodgers rookies took home the hardware. Rick Sutcliffe (’79), Steve Howe (’80), Fernando Valenzuela (’81) and Steve Sax (’82) each won the award in succession.
Going back through history, seven more Dodgers have won the NL Rookie of the Year Award. Ted Sizemore (’69), Jim Lefebvre (’65), Frank Howard (’60), Jim Gilliam (’53), Joe Black (’52) and Don Newcombe (’49) finished atop the voting.
The first-ever winner of the NL Rookie of the Year Award was, in fact, a Dodgers player. Jackie Robinson took home those honors for his work in the 1947 season when he broke the MLB color barrier.

Seager Actually Broke in End of 2015

Seager actually received substantial playing time in the 2015 season. He received a September promotion, and quickly replaced Jimmy Rollins as the Dodgers’ starter at the shortstop position.
In 2015, Seager received 113 plate appearances and 98 at-bats. A player retains official rookie eligibility until reaching 130 at-bats. He received another 16 ABs during the 2015 NLDS.
This year’s stats are what he will be judged on by the voters, and he was nothing short of spectacular. Seager hit for a .308/.365/.512 slash line with 26 homers, 72 RBI, 71 extra-base hits, and 105 runs scored. He was also named to the first of what should prove to be numerous NL All-Star Game appearances.

Other 2016 NL ROY Candidates

One of the three finalists for the award is Seager’s teammate, Japanese import pitcher Kenta Maeda. The other is Washington Nationals infielder/outfielder Trea Turner.
Maeda is a worthy nominee after going 16-11 with a 3.48 ERA in tossing 175.2 innings over 32 starts. The 28-year-old was in his first MLB campaign after eight seasons in the Japanese Central League.
Turner was promoted for a couple of games in early June, then brought back for good just before the All-Star break by the Nats. He hit for a .342/.370/.567 slash line with 13 homers, 40 RBI, 53 runs, and 33 steals over 324 plate appearance while splitting time between center field and second base.

My IBWAA Ballot

On my IBWAA ballot, my selections for the NL Rookie of the Year were Seager as the winner with Maeda getting my third place vote. I chose St. Louis Cardinals reliever Seung-hwan Oh for my second place vote.
Oh is a 34-year-old from South Korea who split the last 11 years playing professionally in Korea and Japan. In his first big league season with the Cards he appeared in 76 games, registering 19 saves. He had a 1.92 ERA and 0.916 WHIP, with a 103/18 K:BB ratio while allowing just 55 hits in 79.2 innings.
In any other season, the other two official nominees and my runner-up Oh might each be the favorite for the NL Rookie of the Year Award. Certainly an argument could be made by someone who might want to toss them a first place vote on their ballot.
However, it says here that Seager was clearly the best first-year player from start to finish. In fact, he was one of the best all-around players in the game this season. He deserves a first place vote from everyone, and should be the unanimous NL Rookie of the Year.

Tigers’ Michael Fulmer Should Be the AL Rookie of the Year

A pitcher with the Detroit Tigers has been one of the top rookies in the American League this season, and should be the AL’s Rookie of the Year Award winner.

It has been a full decade since the last Detroit Tigers player won the American League Rookie of the Year Award.
That year, 23-year old right-handed starting pitcher Justin Verlander went 17-9 over 30 starts with a 3.63 ERA to take the voting by a comfortable margin over the Boston Red Sox 25-year old reliever Jonathan Papelbon.
Verlander has gone on to a fantastic career with the Tigers over the last dozen seasons. He won 24 games and the 2011 Cy Young Award as part of 173 career victories. This season, Verlander is again a leading Cy Young favorite.
Now a decade later, the Tigers again have a right-handed starting pitcher up for the award. In my opinion, he deserves to be the winner.
Michael Fulmer turned 23-years old back in spring training, the same age as Verlander when he won the top rookie honors.
Fulmer was the New York Mets pick during the supplemental first round of the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft at 44th overall out of a Oklahoma high school. He then went to Detroit in a 2015 trade deadline deal for Yoenis Cespedes.
Called up by the Tigers at the end of April, Fulmer won seven of his first eight decisions and was 9-2 by the MLB All-Star break.
Though he only won twice more over the balance of the regular season, it wasn’t for a lack of trying. Fulmer tossed eight Quality Starts over 13 outings in the season’s final two and a half months.
In the end, Fulmer’s numbers show an 11-7 record, 3.06 ERA, 1.119 WHIP, 3.76 FIP, and a 135 ERA+ mark. He produced a 132/42 K:BB ratio, allowing 136 hits in 159 innings over 26 starts.
When it came time to vote in the IBWAA 2016 Awards, Fulmer was an easy choice for me as the American League Rookie of the Year.
I named New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez as the runner-up on my ballot, with Texas Rangers outfielder Nomar Mazara in 3rd place.
In the recently announced BBWAA finalists for the award, both Fulmer and Sanchez are listed. That group named outfielder Tyler Naquin of the Cleveland Indians over Mazara as their 3rd nominee.
I chose Fulmer for two main reasons. First, he was a part of the Tigers rotation since the end of April.
The youngster had to perform all summer long in a key position for a team that was battling for a postseason berth throughout, and was a main reason they were able to hang close.
He also had to perform on the mound in the American League, where the presence of the Designated Hitter in every lineup lengthens things against even the weakest clubs.
Sanchez was also outstanding, banging 20 homers with 42 RBI and 34 runs scored over what amounts to one-third of a season. He also produced a strong .299/.376/.657 slash line.
While it isn’t Sanchez’ fault that he wasn’t promoted for good until early August, that does remain the fact.
For me, what Fulmer achieved in helping his team remain in the hunt as a rookie starting pitcher was more valuable over a longer period of the season than what Sanchez produced in two months.
In the end, perhaps Sanchez will prove to be the better player. But that isn’t what this award is about. It’s not about speculation, it’s about production on the field as a rookie. Sanchez was really good. Fulmer was more impressive.
Perhaps the whole “New York’ thing pushes Sanchez to the win when the IBWAA and BBWAA awards are announced over the next couple of weeks. That would be a shame. Michael Fulmer deserves to be the AL Rookie of the Year.

MLB 2016 Predictions: National League Rookie of the Year

Our staff has just released our predictions for the winners of each division, as well as our postseason predictions, including the 2016 World Series winner. 
I released my own predictions for the Phillies in the coming season. Now we begin the process of releasing our predictions for some of MLB’s major award winners.
Impact rookie ball players are always a fascinating part of any MLB season. A year ago, the Philadelphia Phillies began their rebuilding program by introducing 3rd baseman Maikel Franco for his first full campaign, and starting pitchers Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff as rookies on the mound.
The 2015 National League Rookie of the Year was slugging Chicago Cubs 3rd sacker Kris Bryant, who delivered 26 homers and 99 RBI while producing a ..275/.369/.488 slash line.
While Bryant was an early and well-known, expected contender for the award a year ago, the two players who finished immediately behind him were most definitely not expected to contend. 
Those two players were 3rd baseman Matt Duffy of the San Francisco Giants, and shortstop Jung Ho Kang of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Duffy emerged to solidify the hot corner on the Bay in the aftermath of Pablo Sandoval leaving as a free agent, and hit for a .295 batting average with a dozen homers and steals, and 77 RBI and runs scored. 
Kang was a 28-year old from South Korea who played 77 games at 3rd base and 60 at shortstop for the playoff-bound Bucs, hitting for a .287/.355/.461 slash line with 15 homers and 58 RBI.
The top rookie pitcher in the National League a year ago was New York Mets phenom Noah Syndergaard

The hard-throwing right-hander went 9-7 for the NL champions. He allowed just 126 hits over 150 innings across 24 starts, recording an incredible 166/31 K:BB ratio.
Based on the voting by our TBOH staff writers, there again appears to be a clear front-runner for the NL Rookie of the Year race. 
That favorite is Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager, named as the winner on seven of our eight staff writer ballots.
Last September, Seager took the starting shortstop job away from veteran Jimmy Rollins
During that final month of the season, Seager produced four homers and 17 RBI and scored 17 runs in 113 plate appearances over the season’s final 27 games. 
Despite that experience, he fell short of the 130 at-bats needed to lose his rookie eligibility, and so he goes into the season still holding that rookie status.
The lone vote that kept Seager from being our unanimous choice came from staffer Ethan Witte, who went with Washington Nationals prospective shortstop Trea Turner
It is a highly speculative choice, as the speedy Turner will begin the season in the minor leagues, finishing up his development as the Nats give their starting job to veteran Danny Espinosa.
Another high-profile favorite for the NL Rookie of the Year Award as we enter the 2016 season is yet another talented young Mets pitcher, Steven Matz
The Phillies own top prospect J.P. Crawford could also make an impact, though in starting at AA his timetable for arriving is probably not until mid-season as the earliest, and perhaps not until September.

MLB 2016 Prediction: American League Rookie of the Year

Our staff has just released our predictions for the winners of each division, as well asour postseason predictions, including the 2016 World Series winner. 
I released my own predictions for the Phillies in the coming season. Now we begin the process of releasing our predictions for some of MLB’s major award winners.
Impact rookie ball players are always a fascinating part of any MLB season. A year ago, the Philadelphia Phillies began their rebuilding program by introducing 3rd baseman Maikel Franco for his first full campaign, and starting pitchers Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff as rookies on the mound.
A year ago there was a fascinating finish in the American League Rookie of the Year voting, with a near photo finish between a pair of talented shortstops with very different player profiles.
The award went to Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, who delivered a .279/.345/.512 slash line with 22 homers, 68 RBI, and 14 stolen bases in just 387 at-bats across 99 games following his call-up to the big leagues on June 8th.
The runner-up was Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor. He produced a .313/.353/..482 slash line with a dozen homers, 51 RBI, 50 runs scored, and a dozen stolen bases in 390 at-bats across the same 99 games following his own promotion on June 14th.
While Correa had more of an offensive profile and Lindor a top-notch defensive reputation, each proved to be a more than capable performer in all aspects of the game during their freshman campaigns.
Minnesota Twins slugger Miguel Sano banged out 18 homers and drove in 52 runs with a .269/.385/.530 slash line over 279 at-bats in just 80 games. 
He finished in third place a year ago. For the coming season, it’s a teammate of Sano who has been made our staff choice as the AL Rookie of the Year favorite.

Byron Buxton has been a known commodity for the last 3-4 years in baseball circles. He was considered the top prospect in the game by Baseball America and a number of other evaluation sources during both the 2014 and 2015 seasons, but his big league arrival has been derailed by a series of injuries.
While some of the lustre has come off the Buxton shine for some evaluators due to those injuries and a poor showing during his debut a year ago, the Twins center fielder remained among the top prospects on every list prior to this 2016 season.
Buxton came to the Majors twice last season, first making his debut on June 14th and staying up for most of June. 
Returned to the minor leagues, he then came up for good on August 20th. He produced just a .209/.250/.326 slash line with 16 runs scored and two stolen bases over 138 plate appearances in 46 games.
The 22-year old only recorded 129 official at-bats with the Twins, one short of the MLB rookie eligibility limit. 
Thanks to that single at-bat, Buxton remains an official candidate for the Rookie of the Year Award this season.
Our staff gave the talented 5-tooler half of our eight votes to become the cumulative favorite. However, four other players each received a single vote, and each has to be considered a legitimate candidate as well.
Those receiving votes included Texas Rangers slugging 3rd baseman/outfielder Joey Gallo, who is beginning the season in the minor leagues. 
Also receiving votes and starting the year in the minors are Houston Astros 1st baseman A.J. Reed and Minnesota pitcher Jose Berrios.
A spring surprise who won a starting job in MLB and who has received the vote from our Ryan Gerstel was infielder/DH Tyler White of the Houston Astros. 
The 25-year old White hit for a .325/.442/.496 slash line with 14 homers and 99 RBI in a 2015 season split between AA and AAA in the Astros’ minor league system.
White won a surprise role with one of the American League’s top teams with an outstanding spring in which he hit for a .353/.443/.588 slash line in the Grapefruit League, with three homers and a dozen RBI down in Florida. 
If he keeps hitting like that, he will certainly keep his job and remain a contender for the rookie award.
Others who could emerge as top rookies this season in the junior circuit include Twins’ Korean import DH Byung-ho Park, Indians ouftielder Tyler Naquin, Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, Rays pitcher Blake Snell, and Rangers outfielder Nomar Mazara.