MLB’s awards week kicked off with the announcement of the NL and AL Rookies of the Year on Monday night, and there were no surprises: Corbin Carroll of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Gunnar Henderson of the Baltimore Orioles each took home the hardware in unanimous votes, capping a 2023 season in which both players established themselves as among the brightest young stars in the game.
Carroll in particular was one of the stories of the year, seemingly sewing up the title of the NL’s best rookie by the All-Star break. The former first-round pick out of Seattle’s Lakeside School wasn’t just the best rookie in his league; he did things that a rookie has never done before: The outfielder hit .285/.362/.506 this season, becoming the first rookie in the history of the sport to hit 25 homers and steal more than 50 bases (he swiped 54, along with an NL-leading 10 triples) while leading Arizona to an improbable playoff berth. He wasn’t quite as sensational in October, but he still posted a .773 OPS with two homers and five steals to help the D-backs make it all the way to the World Series — including a sensational 3-for-4 effort in Game 7 of the NLCS in Philadelphia.
Carroll was the clear and obvious choice among the three NL finalists, which also included Dodgers outfielder James Outman and Mets pitcher Kodai Senga. And sure enough, he won the vote unanimously, becoming the first NL rookie to do so since Cody Bellinger back in 2017. Senga, the best rookie pitcher in the sport this season, finished second with 22 second-place votes, with Outman finishing third with five second-place votes. Carroll is the first D-back to win Rookie of the Year honors.
Henderson wasn’t quite as spectacular as Carroll this season, but he was still pretty awesome in his own right, beginning the year as the No. 1 prospect in baseball and ending it with a rookie-high 28 homers to go with a .255/.325/.489 slash line, 10 steals and 82 RBI for an Orioles team that won an AL-best 101 games. Henderson also made significant strides in the field, splitting his time between shortstop and third base and acquitting himself well in both spots. That value in the field (and on the bases) gave him the edge over Red Sox first baseman Triston Casas among position players, as Casas finished third in the voting with six second-place votes and seven third-place votes. Guardians righty Tanner Bibee, who posted a sparkling 2.98 ERA across 25 starts, finished second with 20 second-place votes and six third-place votes. Henderson is the eighth Oriole to win the award and the first since reliever Gregg Olson back in 1989, and he’s the first unanimous AL MVP since Mariners outfielder Kyle Lewis in 2020.
Next up in the awards lineup is Manager of the Year, the winners of which will be revealed in a live ceremony on MLB Network at 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday night.