To start the official MLB awards season, on Monday evening the Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced the winners of the 2015 Rookie of the Year Awards. For the National League, the Chicago Cubs’ Kris Bryant was announced as this year’s winner in a landslide victory. Bryant beat out other finalists Matt Duffy and Jung Ho Kang to win the award, becoming the sixth Cubs player to win the award and the first since Geovany Soto in 2008. Bryant received all 30 first place votes for the unanimous victory.
At the start of the season, all of the talk surrounding the Cubs and Bryant was clouded by debates about service time, exactly when Bryant would join the big-league roster, and if the Cubs were making the right decision waiting two weeks to call him up. Bryant has been a star since day one, and was named an All-Star this season. The rest is history.
Bryant and Anthony Rizzo have instantly become the faces and cornerstones of this Cubs team that made a run all the way to the NLCS in its first year under manager Joe Maddon. With a predominantly young roster, the Cubs exceeded expectations in 2015, and now are the early Vegas favorites to win the World Series in 2016. The rebuild that Theo Epstein and company endured has now evolved into a reload at another deep October run.
On the year, Bryant hit .275 with 26 home runs and 99 RBIs. The 23-year-old led all rookies in RBIs, doubles, and runs, and was second in walks. The only other player to reach those numbers during his rookie campaign was Ted Williams in 1939. In addition to that, Bryant set the Cubs’ franchise rookie records for home runs and RBIs in a season, passing Billy Williams in both categories, while being also credited with hitting arguably the longest home run of the 2015 season and 17 game-winning RBIs.
Bryant is not just an offensive force. He is a versatile player who appeared in several different positions this season, he hustles out every ball hit, and his baseball instincts are rare for a player his age. Bryant also is a very grounded individual, genuine, and sincere. Already and over time, he will be great for the city of Chicago, and for the game of baseball.
At such a young age, it is incredible to see what Bryant has accomplished already. In college, he won the Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser Trophy as the nation’s top collegiate player. He was named the Arizona Fall League MVP, Minor League Player of the Year by both Baseball America and USA Today, the Joe Bauman Home Run award, Baseball America’s number-one prospect, All-Star, and now National League Rookie of the Year. Like Maddon has said, “Kris is one of the better young baseball players I’ve had. Period.”
Here is Bryant also accepting the Player’s Choice Award for NL Outstanding Rookie.
Bryant may not be the Cubs only award winner this season. Later this week announcements will be made for the National League Cy Young Award and Manager of the Year Award, with Jake Arrieta and Maddon, respectively, as finalists. It was an incredible season for the Chicago Cubs on the field, and they are now being recognized for it during awards season.