Corey Seager of the Dodgers and Michael Fulmer of the Tigers have been named the Rookies of the Year in their respective leagues by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Seager followed Kris Bryant in taking the National League RoY award by a unanimous vote. The only question with his candidacy is whether the trophy will be joined on his shelf by a 2016 N.L Most Valuable Player award. (Bryant stands as perhaps his strongest competition for that top honor.)
There were quality competitors, though. The Nationals’ Trea Turner might’ve made things interesting had he played at the major league level for the entire season — and managed to sustain his partial-season excellence for the long haul. As it turned out, he edged Dodgers hurler Kenta Maeda for second place. Three hurlers — Jon Gray of the Rockies, Steven Matz of the Mets, and Seung-hwan Oh of the Cardinals — received one third-place vote apiece.
The 22-year-old Seager had already taken the game by storm last year, but his 27-game run didn’t use up his rookie eligibility. He was great from start to finish in 2016, compiling a .308/.365/.512 batting line and knocking 26 long balls over 687 plate appearances. And he did all that at the plate while providing quality defense at shortstop, making him one of the game’s most valuable performers (and, given his cheap control, one of its top assets).
Things were a bit tighter on the American League side. Fulmer seemed to be running away with things before Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez emerged late in the year. Like Turner, he was just too late to make up the ground in the award hunt — but that doesn’t dampen the enthusiasm for his future. Indians outfielder Tyler Naquin came in third, with Astros hurler Chris Devenski landing in fourth.
Fulmer enjoyed a breakout campaign in his first major league action. The 23-year-old ran up 159 innings of 3.06 ERA pitching, with 7.5 K/9 against 2.4 BB/9. For a Detroit organization that is looking to get younger and add assets with greater control, Fulmer — who came over in the 2015 deadline deal that sent Yoenis Cespedes to the Mets — is a cornerstone.