Reds second baseman Jonathan India and Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena have been voted the 2021 Rookie of the Year in the National League and American League, respectively, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced Monday evening.
India, 24, won in near-unanimous fashion, securing 29 of 30 first-place votes. Marlins lefty Trevor Rogers took the lone other first-place vote, as well as 26 second-place votes. Arozarena, meanwhile, received 22 of 30 first-place votes, securing a decisive victory of his own.
The No. 5 pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, India had actually seen his prospect stock slide a bit coming into the 2021 season, as he’d dropped off the majority of Top 100 rankings of note. He apparently didn’t get that memo, however, as the former Florida Gators standout took the second base job in Cincinnati and ran with it.
The Reds deserve some credit for sticking with India early on, as he scuffled through a rough first month of the season, hitting just .239/.316/.358 in April. He improved those numbers across the board in May but still checked in below the league average in terms of overall offensive output. With a couple months of big-league reps under his belt, however, India found his stride and never looked back.
India slashed .303/.425/.455 in the month of June and was considerably above the league average with the bat in each of the season’s three subsequent months. From June 1 through season’s end, India raked at a .281/.390/.493 pace with a huge 11.9% walk rate and a 22.5% strikeout rate. On the whole, he ended the year with a hearty .269/.376/.459 batting line, adding in 21 home runs, 34 doubles, two triples and a dozen steals (in 15 tries). With the glove, both Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating pegged him as average at second base. Statcast’s Outs Above Average was much more bearish, grading him at minus-7, but both Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs alike graded him out at 3.9 Wins Above Replacement. Cincinnati can now control India through 2026.
Arozarena, 26, burst onto the scene with one of the most impressive postseason showings in recent memory during the Rays’ 2020 World Series run and retained his rookie eligibility into 2021. While he didn’t dominate at quite those same levels this season, the former Cardinals farmhand turned in a robust .274/.356/.459 batting line with 20 home runs, 32 doubles, three triples and 20 steals (in 30 tries) through 604 plate appearances. Baseball-Reference valued him at 4.1 wins above replacement, while FanGraphs pegged him at 3.3.
Acquired alongside Jose Martinez in the trade that sent top pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore to St. Louis, Arozarena has cemented himself as an everyday outfielder and a building block in the Tampa Bay lineup for the next few seasons. In addition to his strong blend of power and speed at the plate, Arozarena drew positive defensive marks in both Defensive Runs Saved (3) and Outs Above Average (1). Like India, he can be controlled all the way through the 2026 season.
India, Rogers and Cardinals outfielder Dylan Carlson took home the overwhelming majority of votes in National League balloting. Also receiving some stray third-place votes were Cubs infielders Patrick Wisdom and Frank Schwindel; Braves right-hander Ian Anderson; Pirates closer David Bednar; and India’s teammates Tyler Stephenson and Vladimir Gutierrez.
In the American League, it was Astros right-hander Luis Garcia taking second place on the strength of two first-place votes and 15 second-place votes. Arozarena’s teammate, Wander Franco, finished in third place and garnered a pair of first-place votes. Rangers center fielder Adolis Garcia received three first-place votes but landed fourth overall, while Cleveland closer Emmanuel Clase received the other first-place vote. Ryan Mountcastle of the Orioles, Shane McClanahan of the Rays and Alek Manoah of the Blue Jays all landed some second- and/or third-place votes as well.