This year’s award winners were selected by an eight-member panel of contributors to Baseball Digest, which has handed out this honor to top rookies since 1972.
Alonso was a unanimous selection in the NL after setting the single-season rookie record with 53 home runs and becoming the first rookie to lead the Majors in dingers. In addition to all those homers, Alonso paced all qualified rookies in games (161), hits (155), RBIs (120), slugging (.583), OPS (.941) and runs (103) while also becoming the first freshman to finish with at least 50 homers and 30 doubles. Alonso joins Dwight Gooden in 1984 as the second Mets rookie to earn the Baseball Digest award.
Alvarez, like Alonso, put up one of the greatest rookie seasons in the history of the sport. Though it was a more abbreviated campaign (he wasn’t called up until June), Alvarez still finished with 53 extra-base hits and an Astros franchise rookie-record 27 home runs. Alvarez’s league-adjusted 178 weighted runs created plus ranked second behind Mike Trout (180) among big league hitters with at least 300 plate appearances, and it was the second-highest single-season mark by any rookie in history behind Shoeless Joe Jackson (184) in 1911. Alvarez is the fourth Houston rookie to win this award from Baseball Digest, joining Greg Gross (‘74), Jeff Bagwell (’91) and Willy Taveras (2005). White Sox outfielder Eloy Jiménez was the only other AL player to receive a first-place vote.