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Elite Performances Highlight the Baseball Digest / eBay: 2019 Rookie All-star Team: Our 2019 Rookie All-Star Team features the Major Leagues' home-run champion, a serious Cy Young Award contender, a top-10 finisher in the National League batting race, and a young breakout hitter on a historic RRI pace.

FIRST RASE

PETE ALONSO

New York Mets

The 24-year-old Alonso wasn't a sure thing for the Opening Day roster, but flashed power from the start and did what no Met or rookie had done before: lead the majors in home runs. His 53 homers set the new rookie record, and he topped all rookies with 155 hits, 72 walks, 103 runs, 85 extra-base hits and 120 RBIs--an RBI total that ranked fourth in the majors. Alonso's .941 OPS--the highest among rookies who qualified for the batting title-placed seventh in the NL and he finished third in the majors with 348 total bases. On top of that, Alonso won the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game.

SECOND BASE

KESTON HIURA

Milwaukee Brewers

At a position with a few strong candidates, Hiura emerged by batting .303 and slugging .570 with 23 doubles and 19 home runs in just 84 games. Widely considered Milwaukee's top prospect coming into the season, he arrived in mid-May and collected multiple hits in four of his first seven games. Hiura, who turned 23 in August, took to his new home, Miller Park, batting .331 and slugging .654 there, with 10 homers in 35 games. He struck out in 31 percent of his plate appearances, but still scored 51 runs and drove in 49 in barely more than a half-season of games.

SHORTSTOP

FERNANDO TATIS JR.

San Diego Padres

Arguably the game's top prospect entering the 2019 season, Tatis did not disappoint, demonstrating both power and speed in his Padres debut. Mostly batting at the top of the order, the 20-year-old phenom hit .317/.379/.590 in 84 games, with 22 home runs and 16 stolen bases. Aided by 30 walks, Tatis scored 61 runs and drove in 53 runs in limited playing time. The right-handed hitter clobbered left-handed pitching, batting .419 and slugging .726 in 83 plate appearances. Tatis was a strong Rookie of the Year candidate until a stress reaction in his lower back, suffered on a swing, ended his season in mid-August.

THIRD BASE

TOMMY EDMAN

SI. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals frequently develop under-the-radar prospects into quality major-league talent, and the 24-year-old Edman emerged in 2019. He arrived on June 8, and from that point through the rest of the season, he led the Cardinals in hits with 99. Edman ranked among team leaders in most offensive categories over that stretch--and finished at .304/.350/.500 in 92 games. He led all rookies with seven triples, stole 15 bases in 16 attempts, and scored 59 runs. Edman also contributed to the Cardinals' NL Central title by splitting time between second base, third base and right field. He played 55 games at third.

OUTFIELD

ELOY JIMENEZ

Chicago While Sox

One of two elite prospects acquired from the Cubs for Jose Quintana in 2017, Jimenez broke through with 31 homers for the young White Sox. He led all American League rookies in homers, total bases (240), RBIs (79), slugging (.513, to lead rookie qualifiers) and strikeouts (134). Jimenez, who turned 23 in November, was at his best down the stretch. In his final 27 games, he batted .363 and slugged .690, with nine homers and 27 RBIs. He delivered three four-RBI games in September, his hottest month, when he drove in 25 runs in 24 games. Only the Dodgers' Corey Seager had more September RBIs (26).

OUTFIELD

BRYAN REYNOLDS

Pittsburgh Pirates

Reynolds has been a singles-doubles hitter who made his way through the minors quickly. After batting .367 in a brief Triple-A debut last spring, he joined the Pirates in late April, hit safely in his first 11 games, and competed for the NL batting title. He finished seventh at .314, which, along with his .377 OBP, led all rookie qualifiers. Reynolds also topped the rookie class with 37 doubles, and he reached base in 24 straight games in a May-June stretch. His 16 homers and .503 slugging percentage were career highs as a pro, making him very productive in the second spot in Pittsburgh's lineup.

OUTFIELD

VICTOR ROBLES

Washington Nationals

The 22-year-old Robles might have played alongside fellow top prospect Juan Soto a year ago, but he missed most of the 2018 season with an elbow injury. Robles took over in center this spring and batted .255 with 33 doubles and 17 homers in 155 games. He led the rookie class with 28 stolen bases--the ninth-highest total in the majors--and ranked second among NL rookies in runs (86) and fourth in RBIs (65). Robles hasn't fully tapped into his offensive potential, but he's already an excellent defender. Among all outfielders, he finished second in putouts (348), fourth in assists (12) and range factor (2.37).

CATCHER

WILL SMITH

Los Angeles Dodgers

Elite talent keeps coming through the minor-league system to Chavez Ravine, and Smith is the latest prospect to impact the successful Dodgers. The 24-year-old shared catching duties with Russell Martin from late July through the end of the season and demonstrated impressive power, stroking 15 homers among his 43 hits. In 54 games, Smith hit .253/.337/.571 and drove in 42 runs. The right-handed hitter was markedly better against right-handed pitching, posting a 1.019 OPS with 12 homers in 132 plate appearances. It was a strong showing for an athletic catcher whose defensive skills have been more advanced than his offensive game.

TENTH MAN

YORDAN ALVAREZ

Houston Astros

Alvarez didn't arrive in Houston until June 9, but delivered as much as any 2019 rookie. He homered in his first two games, kicking off a surge of run production rarely seen from a rookie. He stroked seven home runs in his first 12 games, and the 22-year-old Alvarez finished with 27 in just 87 contests. He drove in 51 runs in his first 45 games, and his 78 RBIs were the second-most in the majors during his tenure. He led all AL rookies with 53 extra-base hits and recorded a 1.067 OPS, a major-league record by a rookie with a minimum of 300 plate appearances, surpassing Joe Jackson's 1.058 mark in 1911.

STARTING PITCHER

MIKE SOROKA

Atlanta Braves

Soroka allowed no more than a single earned run in his first eight starts, setting the tone for an elite season in which he finished third in the NL with a 2.68 ERA. The 6-foot-5 right-hander, who turned 22 in August, was the staff ace of the NL East champs. In 29 starts, he finished 13-4 with a 1.11 WHIP. He recorded a 1.55 ERA in 16 road starts, easily the lowest road mark among all ERA qualifiers. Among pitchers age 21 or younger, Soroka's 1.07 ERA in his first eight starts was the third lowest since 1913, trailing only Fernando Valenzuela (0.50 in 1981) and Vida Blue (1.02 in 1971).

RELIEF PITCHER

NICK ANDERSON

Miami Marlins-Tampa Bay Rays

The 29-year-old Anderson began his big-league career with an effective stint with the Marlins, fanning 69 in 43.2 innings before being dealt to the Rays at the July trade deadline. The 6-foot-5 right-hander was lights out for the contending Rays, a key reliever for their push to the playoffs. With 41 strikeouts in 21.1 innings for the Rays, he fanned 53 percent of the batters he faced. Anderson went 3-0 with a 2.11 ERA in 23 appearances with Tampa Bay, and for the season, he finished 5-4 with a 3.32 ERA, a save and 1.08 WHIP.

PETE ALONSO

FIRST BASEMAN New York Mets

Alonso not only set the new MLB rookie record with 53 home runs, he was the first rookie to lead the majors in homers. His 120 RBIs ranked fourth among big leaguers, and he topped all rookies with 155 hits and 85 extra-base hits.
2019 NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR, VOTE TOTALS

                                        1st    2nd    3rd   Total Points

Pete Alonso, New York Mets              7(21)  0(0)   0(0)  21
Mike Soroka, Atlanta Braves             0(0)   6(12)  1(1)  13
Fernando Tati's Jr., San Diego Padres   0(0)   1(2)   4(4)   6
Dakota Hudson, St. Louis Cardinals      0(0)   0(0)   1(1)   1
Christian Walker, Arizona Diamondbacks  0(0)   0(0)   1(1)   1


YORDAN ALVAREZ

DESIGNATED HITTER Houston Astros

After his June arrival, Alvarez produced runs at a record pace. In just 87 games, he delivered 27 home runs and 78 RBIs. His 1.067 OPS was a major-league record by a rookie with a minimum of 300 plate appearances.
2019 AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR, VOTE TOTALS

                                 1st    2nd   3rd   Total Points

Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros   6(18)  1(2)  0(0)  20
Eloy Jimenez, Chicago White Sox  1(3)   2(4)  0(0)   7
Brandon Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays     0(0)   2(4)  2(2)   6
John Means, Baltimore Orioles    0(0)   2(4)  2(2)   6
Cavan Biggio, Toronto Blue Jays  0(0)   0(0)  2(2)   2
Luis Arraez, Minnesota Twins     0(0)   0(0)  1(1)   1
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Title Annotation:BASEBALL: DIGEST
Publication:Baseball Digest
Date:Jan 1, 2020
Words:1495
Previous Article:Nothing Yordan-ary About This Rookie: In Just 87 Games, the Astros' Yordan Alvarez Produced Runs at a Historic Pace.
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