Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. wins NL Rookie of the Year

Ronald Acuña Jr.’s impressive rookie season for the Atlanta Braves now has some impressive hardware to go along with it.

Acuña, the 20-year-old outfielder, was named the NL Rookie of the Year on Monday by a vote of the Baseball Writers Association of America. He beat Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto handily, getting 27 of the 30 possible first-place votes. Soto got two first-place votes and 26 second-place votes.

Here are the full standings, via the BBWAA. You can find individual ballots on their site.

(BBWAA)
(BBWAA)

Acuña is now the eighth Braves player to win the Rookie of the Year award. It’s a list that includes Alvin Dark, David Justice and Bob Horner. He’s Atlanta’s first winner since Craig Kimbrel in 2011.

This field was really a two-man race between Acuña and Soto, both of whom had high-impact rookie years in the NL East. Walker Buehler, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ young pitcher, finished third with one vote. In any other year, Buehler might have had a compelling case too, but against Soto and Acuña, he couldn’t measure up.

Soto and Acuña had very similar bodies of work. Soto slashed .295/.406/.515 in 116 games while Acuña went for .293/.366/.552 in 111 games. Soto had 22 homers and 70 RBIs to Acuña’s 26 homers and 64 RBIs.

There was one key difference on each side: Soto’s on-base percentage was 40 points higher than Acuña’s, but Acuña was stronger in the second half as he helped the Braves to the postseason.

Ultimately, voters decided that Acuña had the stronger overall season. The good news for baseball fans is that Acuña and Soto each seem to very bright futures ahead, as Soto is just 19 compared to Acuña’s 20. That, however, isn’t good news for pitchers in the NL East.

Atlanta Braves left fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. (13) hits triple in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Atlanta Braves left fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. (13) hits triple in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

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