Seattle Mariners center fielder Kyle Lewis was the unanimous winner of the American League Rookie of the Year Award, and Milwaukee Brewers reliever Devin Williams won the National League honor on Monday.
Lewis, 25, was one of baseball’s breakout stars during the pandemic-shortened, 60-game regular season, batting .262 with 11 homers and 28 R.B.I. in 58 games. He led all Major League Baseball rookies with 37 runs, 90 total bases and a .364 on-base percentage.
Lewis also made a couple of memorable plays in the field, including a catch to rob Oakland’s Ramon Laureano of a grand slam on Sept. 14. Lewis is the first Seattle player to win the award since Ichiro Suzuki in 2001.
Featuring a devastating changeup and a four-seam fastball in the upper 90s, Williams, 26, was practically unhittable. He went 4-1 with a 0.33 E.R.A., striking out 53 in just 27 innings.
Williams, a right-hander, became the first player to win the award without recording a save or making a start, reflecting the stature of the bullpen in today’s game. He is the first rookie of the year for Milwaukee since 2007, when his teammate Ryan Braun won. The last reliever to take home the honor in either league was Craig Kimbrel for Atlanta in 2011.
San Diego Padres second baseman Jake Cronenworth and Philadelphia Phillies infielder Alec Bohm tied for second in National League balloting conducted by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Chicago White Sox center fielder Luis Robert finished second in the American League race, followed by Houston Astros right-hander Cristian Javier.
The writers’ association will announces the managers of the year on Tuesday night, the Cy Young winners on Wednesday and the most valuable players on Thursday.
Lewis and Robert had similar seasons, with fast starts followed by slow finishes. Lewis batted just .147 in September, and Robert hit .136 with 32 strikeouts in 23 games in the final month.
Lewis was selected by Seattle with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2016 amateur draft out of Mercer University. He broke into the majors last year, appearing in 18 September games with the Mariners.
Lewis is the beginning of what could be a formidable young outfield in Seattle. Jarred Kelenic, 21, who was acquired in a 2018 trade with the Mets, and Julio Rodriguez, 19, are ranked among baseball’s top prospects.
Williams, a Missouri native, was selected by Milwaukee in the second round of the 2013 draft.
Williams teamed with closer Josh Hader to form a shutdown tandem at the back end of the Brewers’ bullpen. He allowed one earned run in 22 appearances — a home run by Pittsburgh’s Colin Moran on July 27.
Williams broke into the majors last year, finishing with a 3.95 E.R.A. in 13 relief appearances.