After votes were counted for who would be named the Rookies of the Year in MLB for the American and National Leagues, it turned out to be an easy decision.
Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll and Baltimore Orioles infielder Gunnar Henderson were named the NL and AL Rookie of the Year respectively by unanimous decision, as the results were revealed on MLB Network Monday.
It’s just the fifth time in MLB history that both Rookies of the Year were unanimous decisions. It last came in 2017 when the New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge and Los Angeles Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger were easy picks for voters.
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Carroll and Henderson were the top two prospects entering the 2023 season after both making their big league debuts in 2022. Many believed they were cornerstone pieces for their respective franchises, and if Year One is any indication of what to expect from them, the D-Backs and Orioles are both lucky to have them on their rosters.
Starting with Carroll, he’s the first Diamondbacks player to win the award. His speed and high-contact abilities at the plate were on full display for an Arizona team that shocked everyone when they made it to the World Series.
Carroll played a vital role in that, slashing .285/.362/.506 with a .868 OPS, 30 doubles, 25 homers and 10 triples, which led the NL, over 155 games.
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Carroll’s stardom was already seen by MLB fans, too, as he was named to his first All-Star Game. But that popularity certainly rose in the postseason, where Carroll hit .273/.364/.409 with one double, one triple, two homers and 10 RBI over 17 games.
The Diamondbacks making the World Series wouldn’t have been possible without Carroll’s contributions. The Orioles shocking everyone with the best record in the American League at 101-61 after going 83-79 the year before wouldn’t have happened without Henderson being on the roster either.
Henderson, who split time at shortstop and third base this season, became the first Orioles player to win Rookie of the Year since 1989 when reliever Gregg Olsen was given the award.
The 22-year-old was taken in the second round of the 2019 MLB Draft by the Orioles, and as he worked his way up their minor league ranks, it became clear that his power from the left side of the plate and smooth infielder abilities would pay dividends in the bigs.
Henderson went on to mash 28 homers, 29 doubles and eight triples while collecting 82 RBI and a .255/.325/.489 slash line over 150 games this season. His 66 extra-base hits were the most by an Orioles rookie in franchise history, which beat out a team legend, Cal Ripken Jr.’s 65, from his Rookie of the Year season in 1982.
The Orioles were not expected to compete in the AL East, let alone lead the way in the entire league, but that’s exactly what happened with their seemingly perfect mix of veterans and young stars like Henderson. They didn’t make a postseason run, getting beat by the eventual World Series-champion Texas Rangers in the Wild Card Round.
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However, with players like Henderson under team control for years to come, Baltimore has cemented itself as one of those AL East teams that can’t be taken lightly when they’re on the upcoming schedule.