Cuban Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena won the American League Rookie of the Year award in the 2021 season, the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) reported Monday.
Arozarena received 22 first-place votes, four second-place and two third-place votes for a total of 124 points. Luis García followed with 65 points and Wander Franco with 30 points.
“I also want to thank my brother Adolis García. This also goes for him. We met in St Louis and he helped me a lot,” Arozarena said. “It is something very important to me, taking into account that I had to escape from Cuba and risk my life to get to MLB,” he added.
♥ ️ the emotion
– MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) November 16, 2021
The 26-year-old hit .274 with 20 homers, 20 stolen bases, 94 runs scored and 4.1 WAR in 141 games, helping the Rays conquer the East Division for the second straight year for the first time in their history.
The right-handed hitter is the sixth Cuban and twenty-fourth Latin American player from both circuits to win the Jackie Robinson trophy. The other Cubans were Tony Oliva (1964), José Canseco (1986), Jose Abreu (2014) and Yordan Alvarez (2019) in the American League and José Fernández (2013) in the National League.
By countries of origin of the winners, the Dominican Republic still leads the Latin American crop, with seven trophies, while Cuba tied with Puerto Rico in second place, with 6. Venezuela has three and Mexico and Panama, one each.