One could be excused for forgetting that, after hitting a record 10 home runs during the 2020 postseason, Randy Arozarena entered the 2021 season still a rookie. A 26-year-old rookie, but a rookie nonetheless.
Monday night it was announced that the Cuban-born outfielder was the American League Rookie of the Year. He easily beat out Astros pitcher Luis Garcia and teammate Wander Franco, who played in only 70 games, but put together impressive post-all-star game numbers that included a 43-game on-base streak that tied Frank Robinson (1956) for the longest among players 20 or younger.
Arozonena, who turns 27 in February, garnered 22 of 30 first-place votes and had 124 points. Garcia had two first-place votes and 63 points while Franco also had two first-place votes and 30 points.
Though he was coming off a monster postseason, Arozarena entered the 2021 season with only 84 regular season at-bats in 42 games between the Cardinals and Rays over the course of two seasons.
The Rays acquired him from St. Louis in January 2020 along with first baseman Jose Martinez for a pair of minor leaguers that included left-handed pitching prospect, Matthew Liberatore.
Batting leadoff most of the season, Arozarena hit 20 home runs and stole a team-high 20 bases. He hit .274, drove in 69 runs, scored 94 runs and had an .815 OPS. Though the postseason does not count toward postseason awards, Arozarena impressed again in a much smaller sample size.
He went 5-for-15 with a homer, four walks, and a pair of stolen bases, including a steal of home, in the four-game ALDS loss to Boston.
This is the fourth time a Rays player has been named rookie of the year. Arozarena joins Evan Longoria (2008), Jeremy Hellickson (2011) and Wil Myers (2013).
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