Tampa Bay Rays OF Randy Arozarena has won the 2021 AL Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year award. Arozarena beat out fellow teammate Wander Franco and Houston Astros SP Luis Garcia to take home the hardware. Arozarena was eligible to win the award despite joining the Rays in 2020. He played 23 games in the regular season and then had one of the more notable postseason performances in recent memory.
Here’s a breakdown of the voting. Arozarena received 22 of 30 first-place votes. The Baseball Writers’ Association released who participated in the voting and the full breakdown. Ryan Mountcastle, Adolis Garcia, Emmanuel Clase, Shane McClanahan and Alek Manoah all received votes but were not named finalists.
Arozarena hit 7 HRs with 9 RBI over two rounds in the 2020 playoffs, hitting 4 HRs against the Astros in the ALCS to win series MVP before the Rays lost to the Dodgers in the World Series. This season, Arozarena hit 20 HRs with 69 RBI while hitting .274 with 20 SBs in 141 games. He was one of 10 players this season in the 20-20 club. Arozarena would be the fourth Rays player to win ROTY, joining Jeremy Hellickson, Wil Myers and Evan Longoria.
Franco could represent the Rays in place of Arozarena. After being the consensus No. 1 overall prospect in the baseball heading into 2021, Franco was called up and never left Tampa Bay. He reached base in 43 consecutive games, which tied Frank Robinson’s record for a player who is 20 years or younger. Franco hit .288 with 7 HRs and 39 RBI in 70 games. Had Franco played an entire season, there likely would have been a better case for ROTY.
Garcia was the third finalist after emerging as one of the Astros better starters at age 24 this season. He 11-8 with a 3.48 ERA with 167 strikeouts in 155.1 IP over 30 appearances. He helped the Astros win the AL West and could be the second Astros ROTY winner in the past three season, joining DH Yordan Alvarez, who won in 2019.