Posted on November 15, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
There wasn’t much drama surrounding the award, but Monday night each league’s Rookie of the Year recipient became official. Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer took home American League Rookie of the Year, while Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager won National League Rookie of the Year, with Seager being a unanimous winner after receiving all 30 first place votes.
After a cameo at the end of the 2015 season and postseason, Seager hit the ground running in 2016 the way many expected. The 22-year old Seager hit .308 with 26 home runs and 78 RBIs, numbers that have also made him a Silver Slugger winner and MVP finalist. Washington shortstop Trea Turner and Dodgers pitcher Kenta Maeda were the top runners up, but the award always belonged to Seager.
“It’s obviously awesome to win it in general, but to bring it back to L.A. — it hasn’t been there for a while, and they’re known as an organization for winning all those Rookie of the Years with Tommy Lasorda and all them,” Seager said Monday night. “So it’s pretty cool to be able to be connected to all the guys that came before you.”
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Seager is the first Dodgers player to win the award since 1996 when Todd Hollandsworth capped off a string of five straight Rookie of the Year recipients for Los Angeles. Also winning the award during that streak was Hideo Nomo, Raul Mondesi, Mike Piazza, and Eric Karros.
Meanwhile, the race for American League Rookie of the Year was a little closer, but Fulmer ultimately won it with plenty of room to spare, receiving 26 of the 30 first place votes. The Detroit flamethrower edged out Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez and Indians outfielder Tyler Naquin to take home Rookie of the Year honors. In 23 starts this season, Fulmer went 11-7 with a 3.06 ERA, emerging as a potential ace who the Tigers could pair with Justin Verlander atop their rotation for many years to come.
Fulmer is the first member of the Tigers to win Rookie of the Year since Verlander did so in 2006. The rookie says that Verlander has long been a positive influence on him, even before he reached the big leagues. “I remember back in spring training where I was kind of nervous to come up to him,” Fulmer said. “I watched him. Ever since he was a rookie, he was one of my favorite pitchers in the game.”
Not surprisingly, Fulmer was once a member of the New York Mets organization, a farm system that has produced the likes of Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Jacob deGrom, and Matt Harvey in recent years. Fulmer came to the Tigers in the middle of 2015 in a trade that sent Yoenis Cespedes to the Mets, a trade that appears to have worked out well for both teams.