The Red Sox were totally shut out in American League Rookie of the Year voting on Monday night.
Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena took home American League Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year honors, while Astros right-hander Luis Garcia and Rays infielder Wander Franco finished second and third, respectively.
This was to be expected, as all three of Arozarena, Garcia, and Franco were the three Rookie of the Year finalists selected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America last week.
What was not expected by some, though, was the Red Sox not sniffing a single ballot despite receiving key contributions from three different rookies throughout the 2021 season.
Per the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s website, eight different players received A.L. Rookie of the Year votes from 30 different writers, but none were Red Sox.
Instead, it was Rangers outfielder Adolis Garcia who finished in fourth, Guardians reliever Emmanuel Clase who finished in fifth, Orioles outfielder Ryan Mountcastle who finished in sixth, Rays left-hander Shane McClanahan finishing in seventh, and Blue Jays right-hander Alex Manoah finishing in eighth.
At first glance, one has to wonder how one of Bobby Dalbec, Tanner Houck, or Garrett Whitlock were all unable to crack the list as one of the top eight rookies in the junior circuit this year.
After a slow start to his first full season in the majors, Dalbec wound up slashing .240/.298/.494 on the year to go along with 21 doubles, five triples, 25 home runs, 78 RBIs, 50 runs scored, two stolen bases, 28 walks, and 156 strikeouts over 133 games spanning 453 plate appearances.
Among qualified American League rookie hitters this season, the 26-year-old first baseman ranked third in home runs, third in RBIs, seventh in runs scored, third in isolated power (.254), second in slugging percentage, and 11th in wRC+ (107).
Houck, like Dalbec, debuted for Boston during the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign but exceeded his rookie limits in 2021. Across several stints between Triple-A and the majors this year, the right-hander posted a 3.52 ERA and 2.58 FIP with 87 strikeouts to 21 walks over 18 appearances (13 starts) and 69 innings of work.
Among qualified American League rookie hurlers this season, the 25-year-old ranked fifth in strikeout rate (30.5%), second in FIP, third in xFIP (3.20), and eighth in SIERA (3.28), per FanGraphs.
Whitlock, on the other hand, is perhaps the biggest snub here considering that he underwent Tommy John surgery in July 2019 and came over from the Yankees organization in last December’s Rule 5 Draft.
While expectations were likely low out of the gate for Whitlock, the 25-year-old right-hander proved to be one of — if not the most effective reliever out of Red Sox manager Alex Cora’s bullpen this season.
In 46 outings, Whitlock produced a 1.96 ERA and 2.84 FIP while recording 81 strikeouts and 17 walks across 73 1/3 total innings of relief for Boston. Among qualified A.L. rookie pitchers, he ranked second in ERA, fifth in FIP, fourth in xFIP (3.22), and fourth in SIERA (3.06), per FanGraphs.
Still, despite those three — particularly Whitlock — putting up those kind of numbers in their rookie seasons, none of them received any sort of recognition on Monday, much to the dismay of Red Sox fans.
There is, however, a reason as to why neither Dalbec, Houck, or Whitlock wound up on any ballots. According to the BBWAA’s Voting FAQ page, there are only three spots on members’ ballots when it comes to Rookie of the Year voting as opposed to 10 for Most Valuable Player voting and five for Cy Young voting.
In last year’s American League MVP voting, for instance, 21 different players received votes on account of there being 10 different spots for writers to fill out.
If this were the case in Rookie of the Year voting, it’s likely that someone such as Whitlock would have received some recognition in the form of one or several 4th-10th place votes on Monday.
(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)