Rookie of the Year Award: Team-By-Team Look at 149 Winners

rookie of the year award mlb

Last Updated on November 13, 2023 by Matt Musico

If you enjoy playing the Immaculate Grid game every day, you know one category that pops up consistently in the MLB version is the Rookie of the Year Award. As we have with a few other categories, we’re here to provide a study guide so you can get ready for the next time it appears on your grid.

MLB’s Rookie of the Year Award History

The Rookie of the Year Award is quite simple — it’s awarded to the best player in each league who has held onto their rookie status for that entire season. The award debuted in 1947, and for the first two years, it was given to just one player. Starting in 1949, a standout rookie was honored in both the National League and American League at the end of each season.

How is a player considered a rookie or not, though? That determination has shifted numerous times throughout baseball history. The most recent shift happened in 1971 and has remained unchanged since. Hitters retain their rookie status for the following year if they accumulate fewer than 130 at-bats, while pitchers retain their status if they throw fewer than 50 innings. Regardless of playing time, someone can remain a rookie if they have fewer than 45 days of non-September service time.

There have been a total of 149 Rookie of the Year Award winners in MLB history. Here’s a look at who has taken home the hardware for each team.

Team-By-Team Look at Rookie of the Year Award Winners

Angels Rookie of the Year Winners

Mike Trout‘s 2012 Rookie of the Year campaign was the start of a special run. In addition to his 30 homers and 83 RBI, he also led the league with 129 runs scored and 49 steals. All of this was accompanied by a .326/.399/.564 slash. Trout finished second in AL MVP voting that season. It was the start of a nine-year stretch where he finished within the top five.

Astros Rookie of the Year Winners

It’s always most impressive to me when a player doesn’t start his year in the majors, yet wins the Rookie of the Year Award anyway. That’s what Yordan Alvarez did in 2019. He didn’t even play 100 games! Alvarez suited up for 87 contests to rack up those power numbers. They were accompanied by a .313/.412/.655 line in 369 plate appearances.

Athletics Rookie of the Year Winners

Mark McGwire‘s Rookie of the Year campaign was part of a three-year run where an Oakland player took home that honor. Big Mac gets some extra recognition because those 49 homers were an MLB rookie record for 30 years before it was broken, though.

Blue Jays Rookie of the Year Winners

After winning the 2002 AL Rookie of the Year Award, Eric Hinske would go on to win two World Series before hanging up his spikes. But when it comes to power production, it never got any better than the 24 homers and 84 RBI he collected in 2002. He also added 38 doubles, two triples, 99 runs scored, and a .279/.365/.481 line.

Braves Rookie of the Year Winners

Bob Horner is one of those guys who put together a solid MLB career that not many casual fans know about. Across a 10-year big-league tenure, he slashed .277/.340/.499 with 218 homers and 685 RBI. This came off the strength of seven 20-homer seasons (three of which were 30-plus). He’s also one of the select few hitters to slug four home runs in a game.

Brewers Rookie of the Year Winners

Ryan Braun‘s Brewers legacy is a bit complicated because of his PED suspension. But he was immediately productive upon getting promoted to the big leagues. After just missing out on 100 RBI as a rookie, Braun rattled off five straight years of at least 25 homers and 100 RBI. That helped him build up a substantial lead on Milwaukee’s all-time home run list.

Cardinals Rookie of the Year Winners

I suppose MLB’s new rules could make it more of a reality, but it’s still doubtful we’ll see base stealers do things that Rickey Henderson and Vince Coleman did. Upon debuting in 1985, Coleman led the league with those 110 thefts. He led the league in steals for the next five years after that, too.

Cubs Rookie of the Year Winners

While Kris Bryant‘s 199 strikeouts as a rookie led the league, he clearly didn’t have a problem producing at the plate. In addition to his 26 homers and 99 RBI, Bryant also added 87 runs scored, 31 doubles, and a .275/.369/.488 triple slash in 650 plate appearances.

Diamondbacks Rookie of the Year Winners

Corbin Carroll‘s tremendous rookie season of 2023 got a little more impressive since he also became the Diamondbacks’ first-ever Rookie of the Year Award winner. The young outfielder made it count, too — he was a unanimous choice among writers. Being the first rookie in MLB history to post a 25-50 season will do that.

The left-handed hitter slashed .285/.362/.506 with 25 home runs, 76 RBI, 116 runs scored, and 54 steals in 645 plate appearances.

Dodgers Rookie of the Year Winners

The Dodgers are quite easily kings of the Rookie of the Year Award. They’ve had 18 different players capture the honor, which is the most in baseball history. But it’s not just that — it’s how they won these awards. L.A. has had winners in consecutive years four different times. Their best run was in the ’90s when they had five straight winners from 1992 to 1996.

Giants Rookie of the Year Winners

The start of Buster Posey‘s career with the Giants was damn near perfect. Between 2010 and 2014, he collected a Rookie of the Year Award, an MVP Award, a couple of Silver Slugger Awards, and three (!) World Series titles. That’s how you do it.

Guardians Rookie of the Year Winners

Sandy Alomar Jr.’s power eventually blossomed in the mid-90s. Between 1994 and 1997, he racked up four straight years of double-digit homers. But until then, the nine dingers he hit in 1990 were a single-season career high. In fact, those nine homers accounted for exactly half of his career output between 1988 and 1993.

Mariners Rookie of the Year Winners

When you debut in the big leagues as a 27-year-old like Ichiro did, you have a lot of catching up to do. That’s exactly what he did in the hit department. He led the league in hits seven times over his first 10 seasons. But, it didn’t matter if he was leading the league or not — he put together 10 straight campaigns of 200-plus hits.

Marlins Rookie of the Year Winners

Between 2006 and 2010, Hanley Ramirez didn’t play in fewer than 142 games for the Marlins. The .292 batting average and .833 OPS he posted during his Rookie of the Year campaign were the lowest single-season numbers he produced during that stretch.

Mets Rookie of the Year Winners

Four of the Mets’ six Rookie of the Year Award winners are pitchers. But the two position players that have won it? Well, they’re the most prolific homegrown power hitters the franchise has produced. Darryl Strawberry is currently the Mets’ all-time home run leader, but Pete Alonso is hot on his tail. Alonso got off to a fast start thanks to an MLB rookie record 53 taters in 2019.

Team-By-Team Look at Rookie of the Year Award Winners

Nationals Rookie of the Year Winners

Bryce Harper didn’t start the 2012 season in the big leagues. But once he got there, there was quite a bit of pressure on him to perform, even though he was a 19-year-old. He did just that, adding 26 doubles and nine triples to the below power numbers. Harper also hit .270/.340/.477 in 597 plate appearances during what was an All-Star campaign.

Orioles Rookie of the Year Winners

You know, they called Eddie Murray “Steady Eddie” for a reason. After slugging 27 homers as a rookie in 1977, he hit at least 20 dingers in a season for another eight straight years. He took a quick break by hitting 17 in 1986 before re-starting the streak for another four years.

Padres Rookie of the Year Winners

Benito Santiago did a little bit of everything for the Padres during his Rookie of the Year campaign. In addition to his 18 homers, 79 RBI, and 21 steals, he also added 33 doubles, 64 runs scored, and a .300/.324/.467 line. Not too shabby for a 22-year-old catcher.

Pirates Rookie of the Year Winners

Jason Bay spent four full seasons with the Pirates between 2004 and 2007 (this was sandwiched by a couple of half seasons with the club). His tenure included four straight years of 20-plus homers and 80-plus RBI. He also produced two consecutive 30-100 seasons in 2005 and 2006.

Phillies Rookie of the Year Winners

Ryan Howard only needed 88 games to rack up his 22 homers and 63 RBI en route to winning NL Rookie of the Year. Of course, what happened next was one of the most impressive power surges you’ll ever see. Howard slugged 40-plus homers each year between 2006 and 2009. He added two more 30-plus homer campaigns in 2010 and 2011, too.

Rangers Rookie of the Year Winners

Mike Hargrove didn’t put up huge power numbers during his Rookie of the Year campaign. In addition to the four homers, he also collected 18 doubles and six triples. But the man put the bat on the ball quite consistently. In 477 plate appearances, he slashed .323/.395/.424.

Rays Rookie of the Year Winners

Evan Longoria has a comfortable lead atop the Rays’ all-time home run list. He did that by putting up consistent numbers throughout his time in Tampa Bay. Of the 10 years he spent with the organization, Longo hit fewer than 20 homers in a season just once. That came in 2012 when he appeared in 74 games and slugged 17 taters.

Reds Rookie of the Year Winners

Frank Robinson immediately made his impact felt as a rookie with the Reds. He didn’t let up after that, either. He spent 10 years in Cincinnati and it was a powerful tenure. Robinson is still on the Reds’ all-time home run list thanks to posting 10 straight years of 20-plus homers before heading to the Orioles. Of those 10 campaigns, seven of them finished with 30-plus dingers.

Red Sox Rookie of the Year Winners

Nomar Garciaparra‘s Rookie of the Year performance kicked off an incredible four-year stretch in his career. He was selected to three All-Star Games, finished in the top 10 of MVP voting four times, and slashed a collective .337/.386/.577. Nomar compiled at least 21 homers and 96 RBI in each campaign and also won two straight batting titles in 1999 and 2000.

Rockies Rookie of the Year Winners

I’m not going to lie, I completely forgot about Jason Jennings. And while a 4.52 ERA isn’t anything worth writing home about normally, it is in this case since he had to pitch at Coors Field. Jennings posted a 5.65 ERA in 94 innings at Coors, along with a 3.35 ERA in 91.1 innings on the road.

Royals Rookie of the Year Winners

Carlos Beltran showed off his power during his Rookie of the Year season with the Royals, but he flashed a little bit of everything in his skill set. He also racked up 27 doubles, seven triples, and 27 steals in 723 plate appearances. Beltran also just missed a 200-hit season by collecting 194, knocks along with posting a .293/.337/.454 line.

Tigers Rookie of the Year Winners

Lou Whitaker slugged double-digit homers in a season 13 times over the course of his 19-year career. This also included an 11-year stretch of doing it consecutively. That power didn’t show up until later on, though. Between Whitaker’s age-21 and age-24 campaigns, he combined to hit 12 dingers.

Twins Rookie of the Year Winners

Tony Oliva is a Hall of Famer, and he set the tone very early on in his career. He put together five seasons of 20-plus homers, but nothing was better than the 32 dingers he hit as a rookie. His league-leading 43 doubles also ended up being a single-season career high. En route to winning the hardware in 1964, Oliva also led the league in runs scored (109), hits (217), and batting average (.323).

White Sox Rookie of the Year Winners

Jose Abreu spent the first nine years of his MLB career with the White Sox. The man was quite consistent when it came to the power department. He posted seven seasons of 20-plus homers and six seasons of 100-plus RBI. Oh, and he slugged 19 homers with 60 RBI while winning AL MVP during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

Yankees Rookie of the Year Winners

Aaron Judge‘s 208 strikeouts as a rookie led the league. However, that was accompanied by also leading the league in walks (127), homers (52), and runs scored (128). The outfielder finished second in AL MVP voting, went to the All-Star Game, won the Home Run Derby, and was one win away from playing in the World Series.

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