The coronation of Gunnar Henderson and Corbin Caroll as 2023 Jackie Robinson Rookies of the Year was a mere formality. They were the best first-year players in the American and National Leagues by a mile, as reflected by the unanimous votes they received.
Both ROY winners received unanimous ballots for the first time since 2017. That year, Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger took home the awards. Carroll is the first Diamondbacks player to win Rookie of the Year, while Henderson was the first for the Baltimore Orioles since pitcher Gregg Olson won in 1989.
The future is in good hands. pic.twitter.com/xd6Jac6tfb— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) November 14, 2023
Carroll defeated New York Mets pitcher Kodai Senga and Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder James Outman. Meanwhile, Henderson beat out Cleveland Guardians pitcher Tanner Bibee and Boston Red Sox first baseman Triston Casas.
Carroll finished his rookie season with a .285 batting average and drilled 25 home runs. He also has 76 runs batted in, 116 runs scored, and 54 stolen bases. He became the first Major League Baseball rookie to have 25 home runs and at least 50 stolen bases.
The Seattle native was sensational during Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, tallying three hits and two stolen bases. Those numbers made him the second-youngest player to have three hits and two steals in a postseason game.
Meanwhile, Henderson was instrumental in the Orioles' run to an American League East division title. He batted .255 and connected on 28 home runs. He also scored 100 runs and converted 82 RBIs. Henderson was the American League’s Rookie of the Month for June 2023 after batting .320 with a .994 OPS.
His 66 extra-base hits set a franchise rookie record, topping Cal Ripken Jr.’s 65 in 1982. Though he suffered a hitting slump early in his rookie season, he was a defensive gem at shortstop and third base. He led his team with a 6.2 bWAR and 4.6 fWAR.
Carroll was a part of the 2023 NL All-Star Team, while Henderson also won a Silver Slugger Award this season.