The Baseball Writers’ Association of America will announce the 2018 NL Rookie of the Year winner tonight at 6:00 PM EST on the MLB Network.
The results of the voting, which took place at the end of the regular season, will be made public tonight, though we already know the top vote-getters in the National League were 20-year-old Atlanta Braves’ outfielder Ronald Acuña; Los Angeles Dodgers’ starter Walker Buehler, 24, and Washington Nationals’ Juan Soto, who turned 20 in October, after one of the best seasons in MLB history by a teenaged player.
Soto finished the year with a .292/.406/.517 line, 22 home runs, 25 doubles, 77 runs scored, 70 RBIs, 79 walks, 99 Ks, and 146 wRC+ in 116 games and 494 plate appearances in what ended up a 3.7 fWAR campaign which saw him ranked second among all National League hitters, with at least 490 PAs, in OBP, third in OPS (.923), and 12th in batting average.
Among NL rookies, Soto finished ranked first in OBP, OPS, RBIs, walks, walk percentage (16.0 BB%), wOBA (.392), and wRC+, and he finished second in SLG, in home runs, AVG, fWAR, and OPS+ (142).
Soto’s 22 home runs were the second-most (tied with Bryce Harper) by a teenager in MLB history, behind only Boston Red Sox’ outfielder Tony Conigliaro, who hit 24 as a teenager back in 1964.
His 70 RBIs were the fourth-most by a teenaged MLBer (since the 1920 season, when they started counting RBIs).
Soto’s .292 AVG was third-highest, as was his SLG, and he finished his first season in the big leagues with the highest OPS, most walks, highest OPS+ (142), highest wRC+, and highest wOBA (.392) by a teenaged major leaguer.
“I’ve been doing this a long time. Hall of Famers, MVPs -- he’s as gifted as any of them,” Nats’ hitting coach Kevin Long told MLB.com this summer.
“And that’s as high a compliment as I can give somebody. I really think he’s that special.”
“His maturity for a 19-year-old is beyond his years,” manager Davey Martinez said late this season, “and he’s only going to get better. I really believe that, because he’s so passionate about the game.
“He loves the game. He loves to play.”
“I’m going to be really excited and really proud of myself if I win that award,” Soto told MASN’s Dan Kolko towards the end of the 2018 campaign.
Will Soto take home the award? We’ll find out tonight...