Rookie of the Year poll sees some changes
The Astros had already played 66 games by the time 22-year-old Yordan Alvarez stepped into the batter’s box for his Major League debut, on June 9 at Minute Maid Park. He homered in his second at-bat that night, thus beginning what has been an electrifying 46-game start to his career: 17 home runs, 51 RBIs and a 1.164 OPS.
Now, a little more than two months later, Alvarez has risen to the top of MLB.com's latest American League Rookie of the Year poll. He received 40 of 42 first-place votes to end Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe’s season-long run in the top spot.
Meanwhile, the National League race is almost a dead heat, with Mets first baseman Pete Alonso holding a slight lead over Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. Tatis had more first-place votes than Alonso (21-19), but Alonso finished with more points (166-160).
Alonso slumped for a couple of weeks after the All-Star break but has bounced back nicely in August, with four home runs and a 1.006 OPS in 11 games.
As for the 20-year-old Tatis, in 56 games since returning from the injured list, he has affected games in all sorts of ways, with 16 homers, eight doubles and five triples through Tuesday.
For the season, he’s hitting .315 with 22 home runs and a .969 OPS in 83 games. He began the year as MLB Pipeline’s No. 2 prospect and has fulfilled just about every expectation the Padres could have had for him.
(This poll was done by asking MLB.com reporters to rank their top three choices in each league, with five points awarded for a first-place vote, three for second place and one for third place. Forty-four votes were cast for NL players, 43 for AL players.)
1) Yordan Alvarez (40 first-place votes): His 51 RBIs in 46 games are the most in Major League history, surpassing the previous mark of 47 in 45 games by Ted Williams in 1939. Alvarez's 17 home runs in his first 46 games are an Astros record, beating George Springer’s mark of 11 in 45 games, set in 2014.
2) Brandon Lowe (0 first-place votes): Despite missing the last 33 games with a bruised right shin, the All-Star second baseman is still fourth among AL rookies in three significant categories: hits (77), home runs (16) and OPS (.875).
3) John Means (2 first-place votes): He was the first homegrown Orioles starting pitcher to make the AL All-Star team since Hall of Famer Mike Mussina did it five times, most recently in 1999. He was the fifth Orioles rookie -- and the first since 1966 -- to be named an All-Star.
Others receiving votes: Oscar Mercado (1 first place vote), Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Luis Arraez, Zach Plesac
1) Pete Alonso (19 first-place votes): He leads all Major League rookies in home runs (38), RBIs (85), hits (109) and runs (71). His 38 home runs are tied with Frank Robinson (1956) for the second most in National League history for a rookie. Only Cody Bellinger, who hit 39 in 2017, is in front of him.
2) Fernando Tatis Jr. (21 first-place votes): He and Nomar Garciaparra (1997) are the only rookie shortstops with at least 20 homers and 15 stolen bases in a season. Tatis also has 30 multihit games, trailing only Alonso (31). His eight three-hit games and six triples are tops among all rookies.
3) Mike Soroka (4 first-place votes): His 1.32 road ERA is the best in the Majors among qualified starters and almost a full point lower than the next closest (Hyun-Jin Ryu at 2.22). Soroka is one of 145 pitchers in the live-ball era (since 1920) to make at least 24 starts age 21 or younger. His 2.52 ERA is the fifth lowest. He has allowed one earned run or fewer in 14 of 21 starts.
Others receiving votes: Bryan Reynolds, Chris Paddack