Thursday, July 18, 2024

2023 Rookie of the Year awards: Orioles’ Gunnar Henderson, Diamondbacks’ Corbin Carroll take home honors

MLB’s annual awards week has arrived and Monday night Orioles infielder Gunnar Henderson and Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll were named the 2023 Jackie Robinson Rookies of the Year. They both won the award unanimously, the first time since 2017, when Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger were unanimous winners. Carroll is the first D-backs player ever to be named Rookie of the Year.

As a reminder, MLB’s major awards are regular-season awards. Baseball Writers Association of America members cast their vote between the end of the regular season and before the postseason, so nothing that happened in October had any bearing on the awards. Here is the remaining awards schedule:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 14: Managers of the Year
  • Weds., Nov. 15: Cy Youngs
  • Thurs., Nov. 15: Most Valuable Players

Here now is what you need to know about Henderson and Carroll being named this 2023 Rookies of the Year, as well as the races in each league.

Gunnar Henderson

Henderson won the award unanimously, beating out Cleveland Guardians righty Tanner Bibee (runner-up) and Boston Red Sox first baseman Triston Casas (third place).

Voters selected a first-place winner along with second place and third-place finishers. A player gets five points for a first-place vote, two for second and one for third. Here’s how the vote broke down: 

Player

1st

2nd

3rd

Total points

Gunnar Henderson, Orioles

30

150

Tanner Bibee, Guardians

20

7

67

Triston Casas, Red Sox

6

7

25

Josh Jung, Rangers

3

7

16

Yainer Diaz, Astros

1

3

6

Masataka Yoshida, Red Sox

3

3

Edouard Julien, Twins

2

2

Anthony Volpe, Yankees

1

1

Henderson is the first O’s player to win the award since Gregg Olson in 1989. Baltimore had the longest Rookie of the Year drought in the AL. That distinction now belongs to Cleveland. Their last Rookie of the Year was Sandy Alomar Jr. in 1990. Henderson is the AL’s first unanimous Rookie of the Year since Seattle Mariners outfielder Kyle Lewis in 2020.

The No. 42 overall pick in the 2019 draft, Henderson emerged as baseball’s top prospect a few years later, and this season he slashed .255/.325/.489 with 28 home runs and 82 RBI. He led all rookies in home runs and extra-base hits (66), and also played stellar defense at both shortstop and third base. Henderson finished fifth among all AL players in WAR.

  1. Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels: 10.0 WAR
  2. Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees: 7.4 WAR
  3. Marcus Semien, Texas Rangers: 7.4 WAR
  4. Corey Seager, Texas Rangers: 6.9 WAR
  5. Gunnar Henderson, Baltimore Orioles: 6.2 WAR

Still only 22, Henderson figures to receive some MVP votes this season. He was one of the best players in the league in 2023, not just one of the best rookies. The O’s won 101 games this year, tied for the fourth-most in their 123-season history, and Henderson’s excellence on both sides of the ball contributed greatly to their success.

Henderson is the seventh Orioles player to be named Rookie of the Year, joining Olson (1989), Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. (1982), Hall of Famer Eddie Murray (1977), Al Bumbry (1973), Curt Blefary (1965), and Ron Hansen (1960).

Bibee, 24, was outstanding this season, pitching to a 2.98 ERA with 141 strikeouts in 142 innings for the Guardians. He finished sixth among AL pitchers with 3.6 WAR, the highest total for an AL rookie pitcher since Baltimore’s John Means had a 4.4 WAR season in 2019. The 23-year-old Casas slugged 24 home runs with a .263/.367/.490 batting line this season.

It should be noted that, because he finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting, Bibee will be credited with a full year of service time despite not making his MLB debut until April 23. That pushes his free agency up from the 2029-30 offseason to the 2028-29 offseason. Crediting the top two Rookie of the Year finishers with a full year of service time is one of the measures in the current collective bargaining agreement intended to curb service time manipulation.

Rangers third baseman Josh Jung, Astros catcher Yainer Diaz, Red Sox outfielder Masataka Yoshia, Minnesota Twins second baseman Edouard Julien, and Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe  all received Rookie of the Year votes as well.

Corbin Carroll

Carroll also won his award unanimously, making him the first D-backs player ever to win Rookie of the Year. Arizona, which began play in 1998, was the only remaining franchise without a Rookie of the Year winner. 

New York Mets right-hander Kodai Senga and Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder James Outman finished second and third in the Rookie of the Year voting Carroll, respectively. Here’s the voting breakdown: 

Player

1st

2nd

3rd

Total points

Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks

30

150

Kodai Senga, Mets

22

5

71

James Outman, Dodgers

5

5

20

Nolan Jones, Rockies

2

11

17

Matt McLain, Reds

1

2

5

Spencer Steer, Reds

4

4

Eury Perez, Marlins

1

1

Elly De La Cruz, Reds

1

1

Patrick Bailey, Giants

1

1

Carroll, 23, is the NL’s first unanimous Rookie of the Year since Cody Bellinger, then with the Dodgers, in 2017. The No. 16 pick in the 2019 draft hit .285/.362/.506 with 25 home runs and 54 stolen bases this season, making him the first 25/50 rookie in baseball history. Add in strong defense at all three outfield positions and Carroll finished tenth among NL position players with 5.4 WAR.

Prior to Carroll, the closest a D-backs player came to winning Rookie of the Year was Wade Miley in 2012. He was the runner-up to Bryce Harper, then with the Washington Nationals. Miley received 12 first place votes to Harper’s 16 and finished only seven points behind him in the voting. Brandon Webb is the only other D-back with a top three Rookie of the Year finish. He was third in 2003.

MLB rules say professionals from foreign leagues are considered rookies, so Senga, a 30-year-old who played 11 seasons in Japan prior to signing with the Mets last offseason, was Rookie of the Year eligible. He really hit his stride in the second half and finished the season with 2.98 ERA and 202 strikeouts in 116 1/3 innings. Senga figures to receive some Cy Young votes as well.

Outman, 26, clubbed 24 home runs and drove in 70 runs with Los Angeles this season. He finished with a .248/.353/.437 batting line and 3.3 WAR. Other NL players receiving Rookie of the Year votes include Colorado Rockies outfielder Nolan JonesCincinnati Reds infielders Matt McLain and Elly de la Cruz and first baseman Spencer Steer, Marlins pitcher Eury Perez, and Giants catcher Patrick Bailey.

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