Monday, November 10, 2008

Evan Longoria and Geovany Soto take home Rookie of the Year honors

Evan Longoria, the third baseman whose powerful bat keyed the Rays' remarkable turnaround season, and Cubs catcher Geovany Soto were named Monday the 2008 winners of their respective leagues' Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award.

Longoria was the unanimous American League selection of the 28 voting members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, for the 27 homers and 85 RBIs that followed his delayed addition to the Rays' lineup on April 12.

Longoria, also the only player named on all 28 ballots, and White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez, who drew 18 second-place votes and 59 total points, reigned over a deep influx of first-year players.

An unusually high number of 10 different rookies, half of them pitchers, attracted votes.

But none of them wowed voters like Longoria, the first unanimous AL winner since Nomar Garciaparra in 1997 (Albert Pujols took NL honors unanimously in 2001).[...]

Soto was nearly as popular a choice in the NL, getting 31 of the 32 first-place votes after minding the critical defensive position for the Central Division champs while putting up 23 homers and 86 RBIs.

He was the only player named on each of the 32 ballots, his 31 firsts and one second resulting in a total of 158 points. Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto finished second with 76 points and was followed by Atlanta pitcher Jair Jurrjens (34).

"I feel very honored," said Soto, speaking from his homeland of Puerto Rico, calling the moment he learned he'd won the award "very emotional. It was a very good moment in my life.

"I worked really, really hard. And now I feel all the work paid off."

The Reds had the distinction of placing three young talents among the top five, with right-hander Edinson Volquez and outfielder Jay Bruce following Jurrjens.

Volquez's presence on that list is definitely unique: No longer a rookie, the pitcher was mistakenly placed on the ballot and received three votes for second, thus there was an obligation to include him in the final results.
Postseason predictions aside, I am one for two in the ROY predictions. I had correctly predicted Evan Longoria as the AL recipient of the Rookie of the Year award.

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