Maybe the highest compliment to 19-year-old Nationals outfielder Juan Soto is that we've come to accept that he's just one of those special talents that comes along every so often. We understand that references to his age and lack of Minor League experience and all that other stuff do not matter. Sometimes, a guy is just different.
That's why Soto received 31 of 32 first-place votes to open up a big lead over Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. in the latest poll of MLB.com's reporters.
Soto began this season in the Class A South Atlantic League, and he had been widely projected to make his Major League debut in the second half of the 2019 season. When the Nationals were hit hard by injuries, general manager Mike Rizzo didn't hesitate to give the youngster a chance, and Soto hasn't disappointed.
Meanwhile, Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres continues to lead the American League rookie race, with teammate Miguel Andujar coming in second. Torres got 21 of 32 first-place votes, followed by Andujar (seven) and the Angels' Shohei Ohtani (four).
Here's a breakdown of the latest voting:
Juan Soto, Nationals (158 points)
Soto leads all Major League rookies in OPS (.968), OBP (.421) and walks (53). Despite not making his debut until May 20, he's sixth with 15 home runs. Soto's 15 home runs rank as the sixth most among teenagers in big league history. He's just one behind Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr., who is fifth on the list.
Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves (69 points)
If not for Soto, Acuna probably would be the runaway choice for the NL Rookie of the Year Award. He made his debut on April 25 and promptly homered a day later. Acuna was hitting .421 at the end of April, and except for a month on the DL with a left knee injury, he has been an electric performer. On Monday, the 20-year-old became just the fourth player in MLB history to lead off both games of a doubleheader with a home run, giving him 10 homers in 23 games since moving to the top spot in the order at the All-Star break.
Brian Anderson, Marlins (40 points)
Anderson's rookie season has been a spectacular success. He leads all MLB rookies in multihit games (37), and he is batting .398 with runners in scoring position. Anderson also has eight outfield assists, which is just two off the MLB lead shared by four players.
Others receiving votes: Dereck Rodriguez, Giants; Jack Flaherty, Cardinals; Jesse Winker, Reds; Harrison Bader, Cardinals; Seranthony Dominguez, Phillies; Walker Buehler, Dodgers.
Gleyber Torres, Yankees (133 points)
Torres is the seventh MLB player in history to hit at least 18 home runs in his first 75 games before turning 22. His seven three-run home runs are tied for most in the Majors, and he was voted onto the AL All-Star team via the player ballot, becoming the fourth Yankee named to the All-Star team at 21 or younger, joining Joe DiMaggio (1936), Mickey Mantle ('52-53) and Willie Randolph ('76).
Miguel Andujar, Yankees (92 points)
Andujar leads MLB rookies with 31 doubles, 51 extra base hits and 58 RBIs. Including his five-game stint last season, his 52 extra-base hits in his first 111 career games tied him with Joe Gordon, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez for third most in Yankees history, trailing only DiMaggio and Bob Meusel.
Shohei Ohtani, Angels (47 points)
Ohtani was on his way to being the runaway AL Rookie of the Year Award winner until a right elbow injury interrupted his pitching career in early June. The Angels won seven of his nine starts, and he averaged just over a baserunner per inning and 11.1 strikeouts per nine. Ohtani has an .826 OPS in 31 games since returning from the disabled list as exclusively a hitter, but the Halos are hopeful he will pitch again this season.
Others receiving votes: Lou Trivino, Athletics; Brad Keller, Royals; Shane Bieber, Indians.