Rays' Randy Arozarena, Reds' Jonathan India Win 2021 MLB Rookie of the Year Awards

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVNovember 16, 2021

CINCINNATI, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 20: Jonathan India #6 of the Cincinnati Reds in action during a game between the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park on September 20, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Cincinnati Reds second baseman Jonathan India and Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena, as expected, were named the National League and American League Rookies of the Year, respectively, on Monday.


.<a href="https://twitter.com/JonathanIndia?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JonathanIndia</a> is the Jackie Robinson NL Rookie of the Year!<br><br>India led all rookies in games, OBP, doubles, walks and runs scored. <a href="https://t.co/XjTP8MTK4d">pic.twitter.com/XjTP8MTK4d</a>


.<a href="https://twitter.com/RandyArozarena?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RandyArozarena</a> is the Jackie Robinson AL Rookie of the Year!<br><br>Arozarena helped lead the Rays to an AL East title with a 20-20 season. <a href="https://t.co/ReNjnP3vvO">pic.twitter.com/ReNjnP3vvO</a>

India beat out St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Dylan Carlson and Miami Marlins pitcher Trevor Rogers. Arozarena beat out teammate Wander Franco and Houston Astros pitcher Luis Garcia.

It seemed a foregone conclusion that India, 24, would win the award in the NL. he led MLB's rookies in games (150), on-base percentage (.376), doubles (34), walks (71) and runs scored (98) while ranking second with a .835 OPS. He added 21 homers and 69 RBI.

He took home 29 of 30 first-place votes.

Bobby Nightengale @nightengalejr

Full voting for NL Rookie of the Year. <a href="https://t.co/kqePN5PdoW">pic.twitter.com/kqePN5PdoW</a>

"I can't imagine someone being more deserving than Jonathan," Reds manager David Bell told reporters after the season. "He's done everything. He's done everything in his power to make our team better, and he has done that. He's personally had just a great season, great accomplishments, but he's just simply made us a much better team by being in our lineup every day, and I think that's what it is all about."

Adam Baum @AdamJBaum

Nick Castellanos on Jonathan India: "The Reds better shape up and extend this man very quickly, or he's going to become too expensive. Jonathan India is a very, very good baseball player and he's going to get better."

MLB Stats @MLBStats

.<a href="https://twitter.com/JonathanIndia?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JonathanIndia</a> is the first <a href="https://twitter.com/Reds?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Reds</a> player to win Rookie of the Year since 1999 (Scott Williamson). <a href="https://t.co/CHsdFt5AZq">pic.twitter.com/CHsdFt5AZq</a>

The 26-year-old Arozarena was already the favorite to win Rookie of the Year after an incredible 2020 postseason that saw him named the AL Championship Series MVP.

"He set the bar so high, the expectation level coming off his postseason of 2020 probably made it unfair," Rays manager Kevin Cash told reporters. "Nobody in their right mind was going to say he was just going to back that up for the month he produced in the (2020) postseason. But for a 26-year-old rookie, he had a pretty special season."

Indeed he did, hitting 274 with 20 homers, 69 RBI, 94 runs, 32 doubles, 20 steals and a .815 OPS. He led all MLB rookies with a 4.1 WAR, per Baseball Reference.

MLB Stats @MLBStats

Randy Arozarena is the 4th <a href="https://twitter.com/RaysBaseball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Raysbaseball</a> player to win Rookie of the Year. <a href="https://t.co/fkLdTvG7zB">pic.twitter.com/fkLdTvG7zB</a>

Arozarena received 22 first-place votes.

Jake Kaplan @jakemkaplan

Luis Garcia placed second behind Randy Arozarena in the AL Rookie of the Year Award voting. Garcia got two first-place votes, 15 second-place votes and eight third-place votes. <a href="https://t.co/CvSJq7KOnx">https://t.co/CvSJq7KOnx</a>

It was stiff competition for both players. In the NL, the versatile Carlson—he played all three outfield positions and hit in seven different spots in St. Louis' lineup—hit .266 with 18 homers, 65 RBI, 79 runs and a .780 OPS.

Rogers, meanwhile, went 7-8 with a 2.64 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 157 strikeouts in 133 innings. Sixto Sanchez was the young pitcher the Marlins were expected to build around for the future, but after he was forced to miss the season, Rogers emerged as another building block in Miami.

In the AL, Franco very likely would have won this award had he played a full season. Nonetheless, he still hit .288 with seven homers, 39 RBI, 53 runs, a .810 OPS and a 3.5 WAR in 70 games.

"I think you could make the argument that he's the most impactful player on any team in baseball," Cash told reporters after the season. "Certainly for us, our team was really good; we got better when he came. He lengthened our lineup. He made our defense better. He worked really hard on his defense to make his defense better, and it made our overall defense better. He is a game-changing player. It's going to be fun to watch for a long time."

Finally, Garcia helped the Astros reach the World Series, finishing 11-8 with a 3.48 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in 28 starts during the regular season, leading AL rookie pitchers in wins (11), innings (155.1) and strikeouts (167).