The Dodgers’ 2019 season was largely marked by rookie performance. They received major contributions, walk-off wins, and stellar performances all season long from the unlikeliest of sources. Although it was not enough to win a World Series this October, the excellence of the young players points to a bright future.
This season, though, nobody in the Dodgers’ corps of rookies topped the contributions of Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, Braves starting pitcher Mike Soroka, or Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. in the National League.
Announced today, the winner of the 2019 NL Rookie of the Year Award was Pete Alonso, the power-hitting first baseman.
? Home Run Derby Champion
? 2019 Home Run King
? Rookie record for most HR in a season
? 2019 NL Rookie of the Year
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) November 11, 2019
Alonso, 24, posted a 143 wRC+ and 4.8 WAR. He came onto the scene by setting the MLB rookie record for most home runs in a single season with 53 home runs, breaking a record of 52 established by Aaron Judge of the Yankees in 2017.
Soroka, 22, posted a 2.68 ERA and 3.45 FIP across 174 2/3 innings of work and helped lead the Atlanta Braves to a division title.
Tatis, Jr., 20, possibly could have won this award if he had not gotten hurt. In 84 games for the San Diego Padres, Tatis Jr. put up a 150 wRC+ and hit 22 home runs and stole 16 bases. If he had played 150 games, that translates to 39 homers and 29 stolen bases — with only Christian Yelich and Ronald Acuña Jr. eclipsing those numbers.
Let’s take a look at some of the Dodgers’ best rookies and how they stacked up.
The catcher burst onto the scene and was welcomed with open arms by fans after the months-long subpar performance from Austin Barnes. Smith struggled down the stretch and in the playoffs, but his overall numbers displayed well: .908 OPS, 15 HRs, and 132 wRC+.
Verdugo was in the midst of an excellent season when it ended with an oblique strain and back injury. Across 106 games, Verdugo provided excellent defense and a 2.2 WAR in 106 games. He also put up excellent marks with a .294/.342/.475 slash line.
Beaty was quite a pleasant surprise for the Dodgers in 2019 and quickly became a fan favorite for his hard-nosed play. He played 99 games for the Dodgers and bounced around the diamond while putting up a .775 OPS.
Rios got minimal at-bats with the Dodgers, but he capitalized on his opportunities, posting a 161 wRC+ in 26 games. He crushed four home runs and walked in 16.1 percent of his at-bats.
Garlick was on the shuttle from OKC to LA constantly throughout the year, but still put up respectable numbers at both places. With the Dodgers, he put up an .842 OPS in 30 games.
For all the hype Gavin Lux received coming into the majors, he underwhelmed. Still, he has as bright of a future as anyone on the Dodgers’ roster as the second baseman of the future. He held just a .240 batting average and 87 wRC+ across 23 games at the big-league level.
May had an excellent and successful 2019 rookie campaign. He put up a 2.90 FIP across 34 2/3 innings of work in the rotation and the bullpen. He settled in as a reliever late in the season and made the playoff roster because of it.
Gonsolin was left off the playoff roster in a controversial move, but it certainly was not an indicator of his performance in his rookie season. Gonsolin made eleven appearances for the Dodgers (six starts) and excelled. Across 40 frames, Gonsolin posted a 2.93 ERA and amassed 0.6 WAR.
As it stands, MLB.com has Gavin Lux as the Dodgers’ favorite for 2020 NL ROY.