Rays’ Arozarena, Reds’ India named top rookies

Field Level Media

November 15, 2021 at 8:11 pm.

Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena and Cincinnati Reds second baseman Jonathan India won the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year awards for the American League and National League, respectively, on Monday.

Arozarena played his first full season in the majors after vaulting into the spotlight during the 2020 MLB postseason. In 141 games this past season, he batted .274 with 20 home runs, 32 doubles, three triples and 69 RBIs while stealing 20 bases.

The 26-year-old also committed only one error in the field all season. He entered the season as a favorite for the award after setting a single-season playoff record last year with both 27 hits and 10 home runs. He did not exhaust his rookie eligibility with just 84 regular-season at-bats before the 2021 season.

“I feel good I was able to contribute this season,” Arozarena said through a translator. “I was very pleased with my performance in 2021. It took a lot of work.”

Arozarena earned 22 of the 30 first-place votes (124 overall) from Baseball Writers Association of America voters. Houston Astros pitched Luis Garcia (63 votes) finished second and Arozarena’s Tampa Bay teammate, shortstop Wander Franco (30), was third.

India, 24, became Cincinnati’s everyday second baseman during his first season in the majors. The former fifth overall draft pick in 2018 played in 150 games and batted .269 with 21 home runs, 34 doubles, two triples, 69 RBIs and 98 runs.

“I did a lot at the alternate site (in 2020) to help me to be in this position,” India said. “Just working on my craft every day there, putting my head down and grinding. That’s what I did. It put me in a good spot for this year, and I just carried that momentum over and just played with a lot of heart.”

India won 29 of 30 first-place BBWAA votes and 148 overall. Miami Marlins pitcher Trevor Rogers (86 votes) earned the other and finished second, while St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Dylan Carlson (22) took third.

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