MLB Rookies of the Year 2018: AL and NL Winners, Voting Results and Reaction

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 13, 2018

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 30:  Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at bat during the game against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)
Masterpress/Getty Images

Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. and Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani stood out in competitive fields to take home the Rookie of the Year Award in their respective leagues.

Acuna beat out Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler in the National League.

MLB Network provided a look at the voting breakdown, which wasn't as close as some expected:

MLB Network @MLBNetwork

.@Braves rookie @ronaldacunajr24 received 27 first place votes from the writers of the @officialBBWAA! 🏆 https://t.co/lQcsjLzIBQ

Harrison Bader, Yoshihisa Hirano and Jeff McNeil also received third-place votes, per BBWAA.com.

New York Yankees infielders Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres were both finalists in the American League, but the award went to Ohtani by a convincing margin:

MLB Network @MLBNetwork

A runaway victory for Shohei Ohtani! https://t.co/VUbxdXJAQ3

Daniel Palka and Ryan Yarbrough received the other third-place votes, per BBWAA.com.

The AL race featured several impressive sluggers, with the Yankees duo showcasing pop all season. Andujar hit 27 home runs and Torres totaled 24, and both helped the team surge to 100 wins. 

Ohtani also hit the long ball, with 22 home runs contributing to his .925 OPS, which led all rookies with at least 350 plate appearances.

The difference in this race was his additional contributions on the mound. The 24-year-old from Japan made 10 starts before injuries cut his pitching season short, producing a 3.31 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 51.2 innings.

His effort put him on a list with only Babe Ruth:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Shohei Ohtani and Babe Ruth are the only players with 50 IP and 15 HR in the same season. Ohtani's average fastball velocity of 96.7 MPH this season is the 4th-highest among pitchers with 300+ fastballs thrown in starts this season (Stanek, Severino, Syndergaard). https://t.co/ank2pdbBC3

In the NL, Buehler had an outstanding season (8-5 with a 2.62 ERA) and a breakout playoff run, but this was effectively a two-man race between exciting outfielders.

Acuna had high expectations coming into the year as a five-tool player and lived up to them with a .293 batting average, 26 home runs, 16 stolen bases and impressive work in the field.

Soto burst onto the scene as a 19-year-old who posted a .292/.406/.517 slash line, becoming the first teenager to ever top a .400 on-base percentage, per Neil Greenberg of the Washington Post

Either would have likely won the award in most seasons, but voters thought Acuna was more deserving in 2018.

He joined an impressive list of winners in Braves franchise history:

Grant McAuley @grantmcauley

#Braves Rookie of the Year Winners: 1948 - Alvin Dark 1950 - Sam Jethroe 1971 - Earl Williams 1978 - Bob Horner 1990 - David Justice 2000 - Rafael Furcal 2011 - Craig Kimbrel 2018 - Ronald Acuña Jr.

Although only two trophies were awarded Monday, this is just the start for each of the finalists. Based on the talent displayed from so many young players this year, it wouldn't be surprising to see several of them on MVP lists within the next couple of seasons.