Another year, another Met coming up just one vote shy of winning an MLB award unanimously.
The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly quickly defended his decision not to vote Pete Alonso for NL Rookie of the Year, instead opting for Atlanta Braves pitcher Mike Soroka, who finished second ahead of Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. Houston Astros first baseman Yordan Alvarez won AL Rookie of the Year unanimously.
Alonso, who wore a black hat emblazoned with “100 %” Monday night, was the heavy favorite to win the award in unanimous fashion, as was ace Jacob deGrom for the NL Cy Young Award last year.
Both won while garnering 29 of the 30 first-place votes.
“While Alonso was bashing a record-setting number of (53) homers, Soroka was displaying another skill at an elite level,” Baggarly wrote in a column titled, “Hi, Mets fans. Please don’t hate me for voting Mike Soroka over Pete Alonso for NL Rookie of the Year,” published after the award was given out Monday night.
Baggarly added of Soroka’s home run prowess: “He wasn’t giving them up.”
The scribe wrote Soroka gave up home runs on just 6.5 percent of fly balls allowed, which led the major leagues, while citing the major league average of 10.9 percent. There was an MLB-record 6,776 home runs hit this past season.
Last fall John Maffei of the San Diego Union-Tribune was ridiculed for giving Max Scherzer the nod over deGrom, mostly because of deGrom’s low win total (10), despite a superb 1.70 ERA, he said.
Baggarly’s reasoning had more to do with Soroka’s excellence — the 22-year-old right-hander was 13-4 with a 2.68 ERA of the NL East winning Braves. The Mets missed the playoffs.
Baggarly said he asked colleagues, “If I’m the only voter who keeps Alonso from being a unanimous winner, will Mets fans mildly torch me? Or will I be incinerated beyond recognition?” He wrote he had no interest in generating controversy.
But that didn’t stop several Mets fans from voicing their disbelief over Twitter.
“How alonso wasn’t unanimous is mind boggling,” wrote @geeselle.“But the polar bear [Alonso’s nickname] is NL ROY.”