Geovany Soto, Evan Longoria win Rookie of the Year Awards

Chicago Cubs’ catcher Geovany Soto and Tampa Bay Rays’ third baseman Evan Longoria won the 2008 NL and AL Rookie of the Year Awards, respectively.

Evan LongoriaFollowing a season of breakthroughs for the AL champion Rays, Longoria became the first Tampa Bay player to win a national award from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The power-hitting third baseman received all 28 first-place votes, becoming the AL’s first unanimous rookie winner since Nomar Garciaparra in 1997.

Soto, the steady catcher who helped the Cubs win the NL Central title, got 31 of 32 first-place votes. The other went to Cincinnati’s Joey Votto.

Called up from the minors in April, Longoria batted .272 with 27 homers and 85 RBIs despite missing five weeks after breaking his right wrist Aug. 7. Confident at the plate and splendid on defense, he was a big reason for the Rays’ stunning surge to the World Series after 10 straight losing seasons.
Chicago White Sox second baseman Alexei Ramirez was the runner-up after receiving 18 second-place votes. Boston outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury finished third.

Soto hit .285 with 23 homers, 35 doubles and 86 RBIs. He became the first catcher to win Rookie of the Year in either league since Mike Piazza of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1993.

It was amazing to watch Soto play this year because he really became the backbone of the Cubs’ lineup. And without Longoria’s breakthrough season, the Rays never make it to the Fall Classic. It’s nice to finally see a high draft pick like Longoria finally do something. It seems that top 10 picks in baseball fizzle more than top 10 picks in any other sport, which obviously makes sense considering players are sent to the minors and have to work their way up to the big stage, instead of just starting off in the pros right off the bat.

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