Seattle Mariners outfielder Kyle Lewis was a unanimous choice in the American League and Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Devin Williams was named the National League winner as the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year awards were announced Monday.
Lewis received all 30 first-place votes and is the 12th unanimous winner in the AL and 25th overall. He is the first Seattle player to win the honor since legendary Ichiro Suzuki in 2001.
“I’m still learning the game,” Lewis said on the MLB Network. “I’m still working every day and trying to write my story.”
Williams received 14 of the 30 first-place votes while accumulating 95 points in the NL balloting. The reliever joins Pat Listach (1992) and Ryan Braun (2007) among Brewers to win the award.
“I never thought I would be in this position,” Williams said. “It is just a culmination of all my hard work and it’s nice to get recognized.”
Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Alec Bohm and San Diego Padres infielder Jake Cronenworth tied for second in the NL with 74 points. Bohm received nine first-place votes while Cronenworth received six.
Chicago White Sox outfielder Luis Robert finished second in the AL with 83 points. He received 27 of the 30 second-place votes. Houston Astros right-hander Christian Javier (11 points) finished third.
Lewis, who hit .259 with 11 homers and 28 RBIs in 58 games, is the fourth Mariners’ player to win the award. Alvin Davis (1984) and Kazuhiro Sasaki (2000) also won the honor.
The 25-year-old Lewis was a first-round pick of the Mariners in 2016. But just 30 games into his professional career, he was involved in a collision at home plate that left him with three torn knee ligaments — ACL, MCL and LCL.
Lewis played in just 49 minor league games the following year (2017) as it took him awhile to work his way back, both physically and mentally. But eventually he got over the hump.
“I think it was slowing it down and taking it day by day,” Lewis said. “When I was young and trying to come back from injury, I was trying to get everything back in one day. I gave a lot of credit to the staff of the Seattle Mariners for helping me out.”
Williams had to overcome his own adversity on his track to the majors. The second-round pick in 2013 endured Tommy John surgery and missed the 2017 season. He later struggled as a minor league starter before being converted into a reliever prior to the 2019 campaign.
But there were few struggles this season as Williams posted a microscopic 0.33 ERA and struck out 53 hitters in 27 innings over 22 appearances. He gave up just one run, eight hits and nine walks while compiling an 0.63 WHIP.
It was quite a stunning performance by Williams, who is the first pitcher to win the award without recording either a victory or a save.
“The biggest thing is that it was all worth it,” Williams said. “Everyone has got their own obstacles that they have to get over and in the end, when you put in that work, I can’t put it into words. It doesn’t feel real right now.”
Bohm batted .338 with four homers and 23 RBIs in 44 games. He led the majors with a .452 average with runners in scoring position.
Cronenworth batted .285 with four homers and 20 RBIs in 54 games. He had a .477 slugging percentage with 22 of his 49 hits going for extra bases.
Two Los Angeles’ Dodgers right-handers rounded out the NL’s top five — Tony Gonsolin (11 points) and Dustin May (8).
Robert batted .233 with 11 homers and a rookie-best 31 RBIs in 56 games for the White Sox. He tied with Lewis for most homers among rookies. Javier went 5-2 with a 3.48 ERA in 12 appearances (10 starts).
In the AL, Oakland Athletics catcher Sean Murphy and Detroit Tigers shortstop Willi Castro tied for fourth with seven points apiece.
–Field Level Media