Almost from the first hour of Spring Training, pretty much everyone in and around baseball agreed that Shohei Ohtani of the Angels and Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Braves were the rookies they were most interested in seeing. Sometimes, these things turn out the way they were supposed to.Ohtani and
Almost from the first hour of Spring Training, pretty much everyone in and around baseball agreed that Shohei Ohtani of the Angels and Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Braves were the rookies they were most interested in seeing. Sometimes, these things turn out the way they were supposed to.
Ohtani and Acuna hold sizable leads in our final Rookie of the Year Award survey of MLB.com's members of Baseball Writers' Association of America. Acuna received 34 of 36 first-place votes to comfortably outdistance 19-year-old Nationals outfielder Juan Soto in the National League balloting.
In the American League, Ohtani got 26 of 36 first-place votes, with Yankees third baseman Miguel Andujar getting nine and teammate Gleyber Torres one.
Ohtani, 24, led our AL survey only one other time, back in May when he was baseball's first true two-way player in almost a century. He finishes the season as a designated hitter after sustaining ligament damage in his right elbow in June. Ohtani has made just one pitching appearance since then and appears to be headed for Tommy John surgery that puts his 2019 schedule into doubt.
In terms of talent, Ohtani answered every question. He had a 3.31 ERA and 11 strikeouts per nine innings in 10 starts as a pitcher, and he had 20 home runs and a .923 OPS in 342 plate appearances as a designated hitter.
Acuna, 20, made his Major League debut on April 20, homered in his second game and has taken off from there. He has 25 doubles, 26 home runs, 15 stolen bases and a .926 OPS in 105 games.
Acuna took over the top spot in our NL Rookie of the Year Award survey in the next-to-last vote, and he has widened his lead over Soto since then.
Here's a closer look at the leading vote-getters:
Shoehei Ohtani, Angels (154 points)
Ohtani is the first player in MLB history with 20 home runs as a hitter and 50 strikeouts as a pitcher. He needs one more stolen base to join Michael Trout and Devon White as the only rookies with a 20-home run, 10-stolen-base season in Angels history.
Miguel Andujar, Yankees (93 points)
Andujar's 51 multihit games are the most by a Yankees rookie since Tom Tresh had 54 in 1962, and the most by an AL rookie since Trout had 56 in 2012. Andujar's 43 doubles are the most for a Yanks rookie since Joe DiMaggio had 44 in 1936.
Gleyber Torres, Yankees (71 points)
Torres' 23 home runs are the third most by a Yankees player before his 22nd birthday; ahead of him on that list: Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio. His seven two-run home runs are the second most in the Majors, trailing only Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar, who has eight.
Others receiving votes: Joey Wendle, Rays; Brad Keller, Royals.
Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves (176 points)
Acuna has a 1.053 OPS, with 14 doubles and 19 homers since manager Brian Snitker moved him into the leadoff spot after the All-Star Game. He leads the Majors with 53 runs in that span. Acuna's eight leadoff home runs are a Braves franchise record, and he's the 10th player -- and the first since Trout -- to have at least 25 home runs and 15 stolen bases in his rookie season.
Juan Soto, Nationals (110 points)
Soto leads MLB rookies with at least 450 plate appearances in batting average, on-base percentage, walks and RBIs. He's second in slugging, OPS and home runs.
Walker Buehler, Dodgers (25 points)
Buehler has held hitters to a .171 batting average since the All-Star break, lowest in the Majors. His 2.14 ERA in that span is the fifth lowest, and his 0.89 WHIP is tied with Jacob deGrom of the Mets for the second lowest.
Others receiving votes: Jack Flaherty, Cardinals; Harrison Bader, Cardinals; Dereck Rodriguez, Giants.
Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.