By DAVID BRANDT – AP Baseball Writer
PHOENIX (AP) – Baltimore’s Gunnar Henderson and Arizona’s Corbin Carroll were the kind of exciting players Major League Baseball was hoping for when it changed its rules to encourage athleticism.
The young stars were rewarded on Monday when they were voted unanimous winners of the sport’s Rookie of the Year awards.
Henderson won the American League honor and Carroll the National League honor after both used power, speed and defense to help their teams reach the playoffs just two years after 110 loss seasons.
MLB he made a series of rule changes during the season, including a pitch clock, prohibitions on major infield defensive shifts and limits on the number of times a pitcher can step off the rubber. Henderson and Carroll were among several young players who benefited from the emphasis on athleticism, which added value all over the field.
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Some major league players were skeptical of the rule changes before the season. Carroll and Henderson – who played with them in the minors – took them on.
“My attitude, after playing with them, was to let people see,” Carroll said. “I think people will enjoy it. I think this athletic brand will be good for the game. And it was.”
It was the fifth time the AL and NL selections were unanimous, the first being by Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees and Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017.
The 22-year-old Henderson split time between third base and shortstop, providing above-average defense at both spots, and batting .255 with 28 homers, 82 RBIs, 100 runs, 29 doubles and 10 stolen bases. The numbers were very similar to Orioles Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.’s first full season. – another short film that won the award in 1982.
“I just tried to go out there and play as hard as I can,” Henderson said. “And I felt like that showed.”
Henderson received 30 first-place votes and a total of 150 points. Cleveland pitcher Tanner Bibee was second with 20 second-place votes and 67 points. Boston slugger Triston Casas was third with 25 points.
Texas third baseman Josh Jung finished fourth and Houston catcher Yainer Diaz was fifth.
Carroll’s season ended with a surprise appearance in the World Series, where the Diamondbacks fell to the Rangers in five games. The 23-year-old hit .285 with 25 homers and 54 stolen bases during the regular season, making the All-Star team and becoming the first rookie to join the 25-50 club.
The D-backs were the last of the current 30 teams without a Rookie of the Year winner. He was the organization’s star of the future even before this season began, signing a $111 million, eight-year deal during spring training.
Mets pitcher Kodai Senga finished second with 22 second-place votes and 71 points. Dodgers outfielder James Outman was third, Colorado slugger Nolan Jones was fourth and Cincinnati outfielder Matt McLain was fifth.
Henderson and Carroll earned $750,000 from the pre-arbitration bonus pool for their win. Bibee and Senga receive $500,000 for finishing second.
The Baseball Writers Association of America votes on its awards before the postseason begins.
Henderson and Carroll were part of an impressive MLB rookie class – especially for hitters. According to FanGraphs datathe high-level Wins Above Replacement metric total for all rookie hitters in 2023 (68.5) was the second best since 1900, behind only the 2015 group (75.1) that featured Kris Bryant, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa and others another in charge of them.
The Orioles and D-backs each receive an additional pick after the first round of July’s amateur draft, part of a potential promotional incentive added to the collective bargaining agreement that began last year. The provision was included to discourage teams from delaying arbitration and free agent eligibility.
Bibee, 24, was 10-4 with a 2.98 ERA over 25 starts.
Casas, 23, had a slow start to the season, hitting .263 with 24 homers. The 6-foot-5, 244-pounder was much better after the All-Star break, batting .317 with 15 homers and 38 RBIs, giving the Red Sox hope that they have a future star.
Outman hit .248 with 23 homers and 16 stolen bases while playing center field for the NL West champion Dodgers. The 30-year-old Senga – who sat in Japan for 11 seasons before coming to MLB – had a 12-7 record with a 2.98 ERA, providing a bright spot in a rough season for the disappointing Mets.
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