L.A.’s Mike Trout wins in AL, while Nats’ Bryce Harper tops in NL
Mike Trout and Bryce Harper were teammates on the Scottsdale Scorpions last fall. The outfielders arrived in the major leagues on the same April day this year, both played in the All-Star game and they won Rookie of the Year awards a half-hour apart Monday, the vanguard of baseball’s next generation.
The 21-year-old Trout was a unanimous pick as the youngest AL rookie winner, and the 20-year-old Harper edged Arizona pitcher Wade Miley 112 points to 105 to become the second-youngest winner of the NL honor.
“It’s pretty neat,” said Trout, the son of former Minnesota minor leaguer Jeff Trout.
For the first time, players learned the voting results when they were announced on television.
“My heart was beating a little bit,” Harper said.
Trout, who turned 21 on Aug. 7, received all 28 first-place votes from the AL panel of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The Los Angeles Angels center fielder was the eighth unanimous AL pick and the first since Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria in 2008.
There could be more to come, too. Trout is among five finalists for AL MVP and is considered the chief challenger to Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera for that award, which will be announced Thursday.
“It would just top it off,” Trout said.
Trout hit .326, second-best in the league to Cabrera’s .330, with 30 homers and 83 RBIs, and he led the majors with 129 runs and 49 steals. He joined Ted Williams, Mel Ott and Alex Rodriguez as the only players to hit .320 or higher with 30 or more homers in seasons they started as a 20-year-old.
Trout received the maximum 140 points. Oakland outfielder Yoenis Cespedes was second with 63, followed by Texas pitcher Yu Darvish (46), who joined Trout as the only players listed on every ballot.
Detroit second baseman Lou Whitaker had been the youngest AL winner in 1978, but he was 3 months, 5 days older than Trout on the day he took home the award.
In addition to Trout and Longoria, the only other unanimous AL winners were Nomar Garciaparra, Derek Jeter, Tim Salmon, Sandy Alomar Jr., Mark McGwire and Carlton Fisk.
Trout’s father made it to Double-A as an infielder with the Twins in the mid-1980s and watched his son build a career growing up in New Jersey, where the seasons are short and cold.
Trout, taken by the Angels with the 25th overall pick in the 2009 amateur draft, still lives at home with his parents during the offseason. The award will join others in the family house.
“He gets a lot of good home cooking,” Jeff Trout said.