Houston Astros designated hitter Yordan Alvarez was named the 2019 American League Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year winner on Monday.
The Baseball Writers of America shared the results, noting he became the 11th player to win the award in unanimous fashion. He beat out Baltimore Orioles pitcher John Means and Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe, who finished in second and third place respectively, for the distinction.
Alvarez, 22, was excellent in his 87 games with the Astros, hitting .313 with 27 homers and 78 RBI. That earned him a spot on the team's postseason roster, where he hit .241 with a homer and three RBI, as the Astros reached the World Series vs. the Washington Nationals, though they fell to the Nats in seven games.
The highlight of his season came in Game 5 of the Fall Classic, when he was given the start in left field and responded by going 3-for-3 with a homer, two RBI and two runs scored.
He certainly made AJ Hinch look good, as the manager noted in his postgame comments, per David Schoenfield of ESPN:
"You want to talk about feeling like you did the right thing, just put Yordan in the game and have him have three incredible at-bats, the first one being the most impactful. Just being able to hit a missile to center field, to be able to kick-start our offense tonight. He's done this the whole year, but this postseason as he's tried to find his way, it was nice to see him stay within himself."
While Alvarez ultimately took home the award, both Means and Lowe made strong cases.
Means, 26, went 12-11 in 27 starts (31 total appearances) with a 3.60 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 121 strikeouts in 155 innings. That earned him an All-Star berth, though Means isn't planning on resting on his laurels, as he told Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun in early October:
"I'm excited to go into this offseason because spending a full year in the big leagues, I have some sort of idea of what I'm going to do to become that pitcher that I want to be. I'm going to need a couple more things. I'm very honest with myself. I'm not going to be like, 'OK, I'm just going to sit on this, because I'm good enough now.' If you don't try and get better, you're just going to get left behind."
The Orioles don't have a very good rotation, meaning Means will once again be vital for the team in 2020, alongside Alex Cobb and Dylan Bundy. Baltimore will be desperately hoping he's able to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump.
Finally, Lowe, 25, hit .270 with 17 homers and 51 RBI in 82 games. Like Alvarez, he was a key part of the postseason picture for Tampa, hitting .211 with a home run and RBI, though it was Alvarez's Astros that knocked out the Rays in the ALDS.
Like Means, he was also selected for the All-Star Game, though he didn't play in the contest.
In Tampa, Lowe is a key part of an exciting young core that also includes Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows, along with a farm system brimming with intriguing prospects like Wander Franco and Brandan McKay, among others.
The Rays have a lot to be excited about in the coming years, and Lowe's breakout is a big reason why.