The Tampa Bay Rays continued to add to their postseason awards as outfielder Randy Arozarena won the 2021 American League Rookie Of The Year Award.
Arozarena beat out pitcher Luis Garcia and teammate Wander Franco to win the award.
Arozarena made his Rays debut in August of 2020 and burst quickly into the national scene. He was the best player on the Rays in the 2020 postseason. He came up short in the number of regular-season at-bats in 2020, making him eligible for the ROY award in 2021.
Arozarena hit .274 with 20 homers and 66 runs batted in. He also contributed 20 steals, had 32 doubles, and a .815 on-base percentage. Arozarena was also nominated for a Gold Glove award and a Silver Slugger Award.
He became a first-time member of the 20-20 club this season, with 20 steals and 20 home runs.
Speaking from his in St. Petersburg on the MLB Network last night, Arozarena talked about the award. “I thought maybe I had a chance to be the Rookie of the Year. It wasn’t really a goal. I just wanted to go out there and put up the numbers and play the game like I normally do and continue to have fun.”
Arozarena went on to talk about the support from his family that was instrumental in him winning this award. “My family, they’ve been here since Day 1. They suffer with me; they do well with me. So I’m very happy and honored to have gotten the Rookie of the Year and very happy to have the support from my family next to me.”
Arozarena won the award with 124 votes. He received 22 out of a possible 30 first-place votes.
Texas pitcher Luis Garcia was second in the voting with 63 votes, followed by Wander Franco with 30 votes.
The 26-year-old outfielder has had an interesting journey on his way to the Major Leagues. He escaped from Cuba in a small boat in 2015 and ended playing in Mexico for four years before being signed by the St. Louis Cardinals.
Acquired by the Rays in a trade with St. Louis in January of 2020, he would have to wait to make his Tampa Bay debut until August due to the pandemic shortened season.
He hit .281 during the shortened season with seven homers and 11 runs batted in. But it was in the postseason; he became a household name hitting .377 with ten homers and driving in 14 runs. He was also named the ALCS MVP.
Arozarena is the fourth player in Rays history to win this award and the first player since Will Myers won the award in 2013. Jeremy Hellickson and Evan Longoria are the other ROY winners for the Rays.