On Monday, the top overall pick in the 2010 draft who became a mainstay in the Washington Nationals’ lineup was honored as the National League’s rookie of the year. He became the first Nationals player to earn the distinction, validation that all the hype and expectations that have surrounded Harper for years were indeed well placed. Harper received 112 points, with 16 first-place votes, narrowly edging Arizona’s Wade Miley who finished with 105 points and 12 first-place votes.
“This is a great award, and I’m so excited and proud of it,” Harper said. “But my biggest thing is I want to win a World Series. I want to put that ring on my finger and give that to the town and city of D.C. They deserve that.”
Harper, who turned 20 in October, is the youngest position player to win the award and second youngest overall, after New York Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden in 1984, who was one month younger. He became the third player in franchise history to win the award, joining Andre Dawson in 1977 and Carl Morton in 1970, both of whom won it when the team was in Montreal as the Expos.
Despite missing the first month of the season, Harper played in 139 games and finished atop many major categories among NL rookies. He was second among NL rookies with 22 home runs, fourth with 59 RBI, tops with 98 runs scored, second with 18 stolen bases, fourth with a .817 on-base plus slugging percentage and first with nine triples. Only Tony Conigliaro (24) hit more home runs as a teenager.
Mike Trout, the Los Angeles Angels’ super rookie who is also a top contender for the AL most valuable player award, was unanimously named the AL rookie of the year. Trout and Harper were teammates, and became friends, on the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League last year, and both players will continue to be linked together.
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.
Trout hit .326, second-best in the league to Miguel 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, 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.
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