Pete Alonso and Yordan Alvarez, young sluggers known for their prodigious power, knocked the Rookie of the Year voting out of the park.
Alonso, a star first baseman with the New York Mets, got 29 of 30 first-place votes for NL Rookie of the Year. Braves righthander Mike Soroka got the other first-place vote and finished second in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America revealed Monday night.
Alvarez, a hulking designated hitter for the Houston Astros, did Alonso one better. He earned all 30 first-place votes to become the 24th unanimous selection since the award was introduced in 1949.
Alonso, 24, led the majors with 53 homers, one better than Yankees slugger Aaron Judge’s rookie record from 2017. ‘‘Polar Bear’’ Pete became the face of baseball in Flushing, beloved for his power, personality, and philanthropy. He’s the sixth Met to win the award and first since teammate Jacob deGrom in 2014.
Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. was third in NL balloting. The only voter to place Soroka ahead of Alonso was Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic. Alonso was the only NL player named on every ballot.
Alvarez, a 22-year-old from Cuba, played 87 games after debuting in June, fewest by any position player to win AL Rookie of the Year. He hit 27 homers, batted .313, drove in 78, and had a 1.067 OPS for the pennant-winning Astros.
He struggled at times in the postseason, but that was after voting had concluded.
He’s the third Houston player to win the award, following teammate Carlos Correa in 2015 and Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell in 1991.
Alvarez easily beat out the other AL finalists, with Orioles lefthander John Means second and Rays infielder Brandon Lowe third.
Alvarez is the second consecutive DH to win the AL prize, following two-way Angels star Shohei Ohtani. Alvarez said he is preparing to be an outfielder in 2020. He’s the fourth Cuban-born winner, joining Jose Canseco (1986), Jose Fernandez (2013), and Jose Abreu (2014).
Managers of the Year will be announced Tuesday. The AL ballot figures to be tight between the Twins’ Rocco Baldelli, Yankees’ Aaron Boone, and Rays’ Kevin Cash.
The NL finalists are the Brewers’ Craig Counsell, Cardinals’ Mike Shildt, and Braves’ Brian Snitker.
Giants turn to Harris
After playing a role in the Cubs’ transformation from rebuilding club to World Series champion, Scott Harris aims to guide the Giants along a similar path. Harris, 32, was introduced Monday as the Giants’ general manager, the first of what should be two significant hires for the franchise in the coming days.
President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said he expects to announce a new manager this week to succeed Bruce Bochy, who stepped down after the season. The Giants have narrowed their list of candidates to former Phillies manager Gape Kapler, Astros bench coach Joe Espada, and Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro.
Zaidi and Harris will work in tandem atop San Francisco’s front office, though Zaidi remains the primary decision-maker.
Harris had served as the Cubs’ assistant general manager since 2018 after five seasons spent as the team’s director of baseball operations. He contributed to a turnaround that saw the Cubs go from a 101-loss team in 2012 to winning the World Series in 2016.
Later Monday, Rays general manager Erik Neander was named MLB’s Executive of the Year.
Tampa Bay was 96-66, the second-most wins in team history, despite a big league-low payroll of $66 million. The Rays beat Oakland in the AL wild-card game, then lost to Houston in a five-game Division Series.
Neander’s moves included acquiring outfielder Austin Meadows and pitcher Tyler Glasnow at the 2018 trade deadline from Pittsburgh for pitcher Chris Archer, and signing free agent pitcher Charlie Morton ahead of the 2019 season.
The 36-year-old Neander became the Rays’ general manager in November 2016 and one year later replaced Matt Silverman as the team’s top baseball official.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman was second in voting, with Athletics executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane and Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey tied for third.
US team falls again
The United States team stumbled for the second time in Olympic baseball qualifying, losing to South Korea, 5-1, in Tokyo.
The Americans dropped to 0-2 in the super round of the Premier12 tournament, which serves as Olympic qualifying. The record includes an 8-2 group stage loss Nov. 3 against Mexico (2-0), which is carried over to the super round standings. The Mexicans opened the super round with a 2-0 win over Taiwan at Chiba City. The US team, managed by Scott Brosius, plays Japan on Tuesday, Australia on Wednesday, and Taiwan on Friday.
Kim Jae-hwan hit a three-run homer in the first inning off loser Cody Ponce, a righthander acquired by Pittsburgh in July for Jordan Lyles.
Minnesota’s Brent Rooker homered in the sixth against starter Yang Hyeon-jong, who got the win. The South Koreans widened their lead in the seventh on consecutive RBI doubles by Kim Ha-seong off Seattle’s Wyatt Mills and Lee Jung-hoo against Atlanta’s Caleb Thielbar.
The US team loaded the bases with one out in the first, but Tampa Bay’s Jake Cronenworth and Rooker struck out.
After the super round, which also includes Japan and Australia, the first- and second-place teams advance to the gold-medal game and the third- and fourth-place teams play for the bronze. The top finisher from the Americas, the US team or Mexico, qualifies for the Tokyo Olympics next year. The second-place finisher from the Americas goes to a final qualifying tournament in March or April.