India voted Reds’ 7th NL Rookie of the Year

Published 1:39 am Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Cincinnati Reds’ second baseman Jonathan India turns a double play. India became the Reds’ 7th National League Rookie of the Year on Monday. (Photo Courtesy of The Cincinnati Reds.com)

The Associated Press

It didn’t feel like Randy Arozarena was a rookie this season.

Tampa Bay’s speedy and powerful outfielder certainly didn’t play like one, either.

Arozarena won AL Rookie of the Year honors with a superb follow-up to his 2020 postseason heroics while Cincinnati Reds second baseman Jonathan India earned NL Rookie of the Year on Monday night.

The standout years for Arozarena and India highlight the changing profile of a good MLB leadoff hitter. Both players have speed and a good eye, but also considerable power. It’s the first time since 1953 that the rookie of the year winners were both primarily leadoff hitters. That season, Detroit’s Harvey Kuenn and Brooklyn’s Jim Gilliam won.

If it didn’t seem like this wasn’t Arozarena’s first year, there’s a reason. The 26-year-old Cuban provided a stunning lift for the Rays during the 2020 postseason with 10 homers in 18 games during their run to the World Series.

But Arozarena didn’t play enough during the 2020 regular season to lose his rookie status so he was eligible for the award this year. He followed up his postseason breakout with an excellent season in 2021, finishing with a .274 average, 32 doubles, 20 homers, 20 stolen bases and 69 RBIs while adding excellent defense, helping the Rays return to the postseason.

“I know I was favored to be the rookie of the year,” Arozarena said through a translator. “But for me, my mind wasn’t set on the award or winning the award. My mind and my goal was to have another good season and continue what I had done the year before.”

Arozarena earned 22 of 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, beating out Houston right-hander Luis Garcia and Tampa Bay infielder Wander Franco.

Arozarena is Tampa Bay’s first rookie of the year since outfielder Wil Myers in 2013.

Five AL players received at least one first-place vote in this year’s tally, including Garcia, Franco, Texas outfielder Adolis García and Cleveland pitcher Emmanuel Clase. Garcia hit 31 homers this season while Clase had a 1.29 ERA in Cleveland’s bullpen.

The 20-year-old Franco has the label as one of MLB’s future stars and his performance in 2021 did nothing to discourage that billing. The infielder hit .288 with seven homers and 39 homers while playing less than half the season.

The 24-year-old Garcia was instrumental in the Astros’ run to the World Series this season. He had an 11-8 record with a 3.48 ERA and struck out 167 batters over 155 1/3 innings.

India won the NL award eight months after earning the team’s second base job during spring training and never letting it go during a stellar first season.

The 24-year-old India received 29 of 30 first-place votes, beating out Miami left-handed pitcher Trevor Rogers and St. Louis outfielder Dylan Carlson. Rogers got one first-place vote. India said it’s been an amazing journey from spring training, where he was a longshot to even make the regular-season roster.

“I didn’t really have a role on the team, I was just there to fill in for some guys who weren’t playing,” India said. “I kind of took it personal. I just wanted to be a big leaguer this season and I made it a point to put my head down and grind.”

India was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2018 draft and played third base in college at Florida, but he’s found a home at second base in the big leagues and become a cornerstone for the Reds’ future. His quick impact in the big leagues was somewhat surprising considering he had just 111 at-bats above Single-A before 2021.

He was the Reds’ first rookie of the year winner since pitcher Scott Williamson in 1999.

The 6-foot, 200-pound India was an all-around threat — particularly during the second half of the season — often batting leadoff and finishing with a .269 average, 34 doubles, 21 homers, 69 RBIs and 12 stolen bases. He also showed good discipline in the batter’s box, coaxing 71 walks to finish with a .376 on-base percentage, and scored 98 runs.

The 23-year-old Rogers finished second. He was chosen as an All-Star during an excellent season that included a 7-8 record and 2.64 ERA over 25 starts. The hard-throwing lefty struck out 155 batters over 133 innings.

Carlson was part of a young, talented outfield for a Cardinals team that made a late-season charge to the playoffs. Playing as a 22-year-old, he batted .266 with 18 homers and provided solid defense in all three outfield spots.

NL rookie of year voting

First-, second- and third-place votes and total points on a 5-3-1 basis.

Player 1st 2nd 3rd Tot

Jonathan India, Reds 29 1 – 148

Trevor Rogers, Marlins 1 26 3 87

Dylan Carson, Cardinals – 3 13 22

Patrick Wisdon, Cubs – – 5 5

Ian Anderson, Braves – – 3 3

Tyler Stephenson, Reds – – 2 2

Frank Schwindel, Cubs – – 2 2

David Bednar, Pirates – – 1 1

Vladimir Gutierrez, Reds – – 1 1

National League Rookies of the Year

x-unanimous

2021 — Jonathan India, Cincinnati

2020 — Devin Williams, Milwaukee

2019 — Pete Alonso, New York

2018 — Ronald Acuna Jr., Atlanta

2017 — x-Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles

2016 — x-Corey Seager, Los Angeles

2015 — x-Kris Bryant, Chicago

2014 — Jacob deGrom, New York

2013 — Jose Fernandez, Miami

2012 — Bryce Harper, Washington

2011 — x-Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta

2010 — Buster Posey, San Francisco

2009 — Chris Coghlan, Florida

2008 — Geovany Soto, Chicago

2007 — Ryan Braun, Milwaukee

2006 — Hanley Ramirez, Florida

2005 — Ryan Howard, Philadelphia

2004 — Jason Bay, Pittsburgh

2003 — Dontrelle Willis, Florida

2002 — Jason Jennings, Colorado

2001 — x-Albert Pujols, St. Louis

2000 — Rafael Furcal, Atlanta

1999 — Scott Williamson, Cincinnati

1998 — Kerry Wood, Chicago

1997 — x-Scott Rolen, Philadelphia

1996 — Todd Hollandsworth, Los Angeles

1995 — Hideo Nomo, Los Angeles

1994 — x-Raul Mondesi, Los Angeles

1993 — x-Mike Piazza, Los Angeles

1992 — Eric Karros, Los Angeles

1991 — Jeff Bagwell, Houston

1990 — Dave Justice, Atlanta

1989 — Jerome Walton, Chicago

1988 — Chris Sabo, Cincinnati

1987 — x-Benito Santiago, San Diego

1986 — Todd Worrell, St. Louis

1985 — x-Vince Coleman, St. Louis

1984 — Dwight Gooden, New York

1983 — Darryl Strawberry, New York

1982 — Steve Sax, Los Angeles

1981 — Fernando Valenzuela, Los Angeles

1980 — Steve Howe, Los Angeles

1979 — Rick Sutcliffe, Los Angeles

1978 — Bob Horner, Atlanta

1977 — Andre Dawson, Montreal

1976 — Pat Zachry, Cincinnati, and Butch Metzger, San Diego, tie

1975 — John Montefusco, San Francisco

1974 — Bake McBride, St. Louis

1973 — Gary Matthews, San Francisco

1972 — Jon Matlack, New York

1971 — Earl Williams, Atlanta

1970 — Carl Morton, Montreal

1969 — Ted Sizemore, Los Angeles

1968 — Johnny Bench, Cincinnati

1967 — Tom Seaver, New York

1966 — Tommy Helms, Cincinnati

1965 — Jim Lefebvre, Los Angeles

1964 — Richie Allen, Philadelphia

1963 — Pete Rose, Cincinnati

1962 — Ken Hubbs, Chicago

1961 — Billy Williams, Chicago

1960 — Frank Howard, Los Angeles

1959 — x-Willie McCovey, San Francisco

1958 — x-Orlando Cepeda, San Francisco

1957 — Jack Sanford, Philadelphia

1956 — x-Frank Robinson, Cincinnati

1955 — Bill Virdon, St. Louis

1954 — Wally Moon, St. Louis

1953 — Jim Gilliam, Brooklyn

1952 — Joe Black, Brooklyn

1951 — Willie Mays, New York

1950 — Sam Jethroe, Boston

1949 — Don Newcombe, Brooklyn

1948 — Alvin Dark, Boston

1947 — Jackie Robinson, Brooklyn