The Dodgers bid to have three straight National League Rookie of the Year award winners fell short Monday, as it was announced Walker Buehler finished third in the vote. The award, voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America, went to Braves’ outfielder Ronald Acuña.
Buehler received one first-place vote, one second and 20 third to finish behind Acuña and Nationals’ outfielder Juan Soto. 27 of the 30 votes for first place went to Acuña, while Soto received 26 of the 30 for second.
In 23 starts for the Dodgers this year, Buehler was 8-4 with a 2.31 ERA. The right-hander struck out 151 in 137 1⁄3 innings and had the second lowest WHIP (0.961) ever by a rookie starter, behind Dick Hughes (0.954) in 1967.
Even more impressive, Buehler allowed only 13 runs (11 earned) in 12 starts at Dodger Stadium. Not winning the award doesn't take away from just how good his season was and the Dodgers have a dominant arm to rely on for years to come.
Acuña played in 111 games in 2018, smacking 56 extra-base hits while hitting .293/.366/.552 as a 20-year-old. With 26 home runs and 16 stolen bases, Acuna showed that he is a rising star for a young Atlanta team.
Buehler allowed a grand slam to Acuña in Game 3 of the 2018 NLDS, the only game Atlanta would win in the short series against the Dodgers.
Juan Soto was pretty comparable to Acuña, hitting .292/.406/.517 in 116 games last season. The 19-year-old drove in 70 runs and launched 22 homers, but the most impressive part of his game came in the 79 walks.
Major League Baseball is loaded with young talent and it will be fun to watch them compete over the next few years.