Baltimore Orioles infielder Gunnar Henderson capped off a sensational 2023 season by winning the Jackie Robinson American League Rookie of the Year award in unanimous fashion.
Henderson, who beat Cleveland Guardians right-hander Tanner Bibee and Boston Red Sox first baseman Triston Casas for the honor, was the only player who was named on every ballot. He’s the 13th unanimous winner in the AL, and 27th overall alongside this year’s NL winner Corbin Carroll. It’s the fifth time, and first since 2017, that the top rookies in both leagues were unanimous choices.
Here’s how the top five of the voting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America looked:
|Josh Jung (TEX)||3||7||16|
|Yainer Diaz (HOU)||1||3||6|
The 22-year-old is the eighth player in Orioles history, and seventh since the team moved to Baltimore in 1954, to be named AL Rookie of the Year. His win is the first for the franchise since Gregg Olson in 1989, which snaps the second-longest drought without a winner. Only the San Diego Padres, who last had a top rookie in 1987, have been waiting longer.
Henderson played a key role as Baltimore surged to a 101-win season and its first AL East title since 2014. He slashed .255/.325/.489 with 28 home runs, 29 doubles, 82 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases in 150 games, while also playing plus defense at both third base and shortstop, splitting time between the two spots almost evenly.
Having played one more game at third base, he becomes only the fifth AL rookie to win the honor by playing a majority of his games at the hot corner, joining Gil McDougald in 1951, John Castino in 1979, Eric Hinske in 2002, and Evan Longoria in 2008. He’s also the first shortstop to claim the Junior Circuit award since Carlos Correa in 2015.
This is the latest honor for Henderson, who also won the utility Silver Slugger last week.
Thanks to his win, the Orioles will receive an extra first-round draft pick in 2024 through the prospect promotion initiative, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The initiative, which began last year as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, also rewarded runner-up Bibee with a full year of service time.
Red Sox outfielder/designated hitter Masataka Yoshida, Minnesota Twins second baseman Edouard Julien, and New York Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe also received third-place votes.
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