Yan­kees' Sanchez 2nd in Rookie of Year vot­ing

Tigers’ Ful­mer, Dodgers’ Sea­ger earn nods in AL, NL, re­spec­tively

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Noah Tris­ter

Corey Sea­ger won the NL Rookie of the Year award unan­i­mously. Michael Ful­mer took the AL honor — and that vote wasn’t all that close, ei­ther. The Yan­kees' Gary Sanchez was 2nd in the AL.

Corey Sea­ger won the NL Rookie of the Year award unan­i­mously.

Michael Ful­mer took the AL honor — and that vote wasn’t all that close, ei­ther.

Sea­ger and Ful­mer were an­nounced as the win­ners when votes from the Base­ball Writ­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica were made pub­lic. Sea­ger’s vic­tory was al­most a fore­gone con­clu­sion after he hit .308 with 26 home runs and 72 RBIs this year for the Los An­ge­les Dodgers. Ful­mer, on the other hand, had to hold off a late chal­lenge from New York Yan­kees catcher Gary Sanchez, who hit 20 home runs in only 53 games.

Ful­mer’s sea­son-long con­tri­bu­tions for Detroit won out. The right-han­der went 11-7 with a 3.06 ERA in 26 starts for the Tigers. He ended up re­ceiv­ing 26 of 30 first-place votes from the BBWAA, out­dis­tanc­ing Sanchez by a to­tal of 142 points to 91.

“I’m re­ally happy and blessed to re­ceive this award,” Ful­mer said on a con­fer­ence call. “I knew that both Gary and Tyler (Naquin) had out­stand­ing years, and I hope to play against them for a long time.”

Naquin, a Cleve­land out­fielder, fin­ished third in the AL race.

Sea­ger re­ceived the max­i­mum 150 points in the NL vote. The Los An­ge­les short­stop fin­ished well ahead of Wash­ing­ton out­fielder Trea Turner (42) and Dodgers pitcher Kenta Maeda (37).

Sea­ger is the 17th Dodgers player to earn Rookie of the Year hon­ors — eas­ily the most of any team — but the fran­chise hadn’t had a win­ner since Todd Hol­landsworth in 1996.

“It’s ob­vi­ously awe­some to win it in gen­eral, but to bring it back to L.A. — it hasn’t been there for a while, and they’re known as an or­ga­ni­za­tion for win­ning all those Rookie of the Years with Tommy La­sorda and all them,” Sea­ger said. “So it’s pretty cool to be able to be con­nected to all the guys that came be­fore you.”

The Dodgers, of course, had the first Rookie of the Year when Jackie Robin­son won in 1947. They also had four win­ners in a row from 1979-82 and five in a row from 1992-96.

Sea­ger was the sec­ond player in a row to win NL Rookie of the Year unan­i­mously. Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs did it last year. Sea­ger joins a list of Dodgers Rookie of the Year win­ners that in­cludes lu­mi­nar­ies like Robin­son, Fernando Valen­zuela (1981) and Mike Pi­azza (1993).

A first-round draft pick by the Dodgers in 2012, Sea­ger made his big league de­but in 2015, hit­ting .337 in 27 games. He came into this sea­son with high ex­pec­ta­tions and pro­duced a phe­nom­e­nal year. He is one of three fi­nal­ists for Thurs­day’s NL Most Valu­able Player an­nounce­ment, join­ing Bryant and Wash­ing­ton’s Daniel Mur­phy.

Sea­ger in­di­cated that ac­co­lades like this were the fur­thest thing from his mind com­ing into the sea­son.

“I didn’t ex­pect to win any­thing,” he said. “It’s a tough game, you don’t take any­thing for granted, you don’t ex­pect any­thing to be given to you.”

Ful­mer is the fifth Tigers player to win Rookie of the Year, join­ing Justin Ver­lan­der (2006), Lou Whi­taker (1978), Mark Fidrych (1976) and Har­vey Kuenn (1953). Ver­lan­der is now a men­tor to Ful­mer in the Detroit ro­ta­tion.

“I re­mem­ber back in spring train­ing where I was kind of ner­vous to come up to him,” Ful­mer said. “I watched him — ever since he was a rookie, he was one of my fa­vorite pitch­ers in the game.”

Detroit ac­quired Ful­mer in 2015 from the Mets in the trade that sent Yoe­nis Ce­s­pedes to New York. Ful­mer made his big league de­but this April and lifted the Tigers with a sen­sa­tional stretch lead­ing up to the All-Star break. From May 21 through July 6, he went 7-1 with a 0.63 ERA.

Sanchez made his own bid with his tor­rid hit­ting down the stretch, but that wasn’t enough to close the gap on Ful­mer.

“What he did this year was un­be­liev­able — for him to hit 20 home runs in 53 games,” Ful­mer said. “It’s re­ally cool to see guys like that, see young guys do that. Just to be nom­i­nated with him is a big honor.”

AP FILE PHO­TOS

Tigers’ Michael Ful­mer, left, and Dodgers’ Corey Sea­ger were named AL and AL Rook­ies of the Year, re­spec­tively.

MICHAEL DWYER — AP FILE

Yan­kees’ catcher Gary Sanchez placed sec­ond in the AL Rookie of the Year vot­ing.

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