Acuna honored to be named National League Rookie of the Year

In this Aug. 26, 2018 photo Atlanta Braves left fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. looks out of the dugout during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins in Miami. Acuna Jr. was a runaway pick for the NL Rookie of the Year over Washington outfielder Juan Soto in a contest between 20-year-olds. He received 27 first-place votes and three seconds for 144 points. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
MLB All-Star Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Atlanta Braves points to the ceiling while talking with first base coach Hideki Matsui (55) after teammate Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals ground-rule flied out in the fourth inning of Game 3 against All Japan at the All-Stars Series baseball at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Toru Takahashi)

HIROSHIMA, Japan — Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. woke up in Japan to news he had been named National League Rookie of the Year.

Acuna was a runaway choice for the award over Washington outfielder Juan Soto in a contest between 20-year-olds.

"I'm just flattered, I'm so honored," Acuna said through a translator. "My career is just starting. There are so many things I need to do to be a better player. I'll take advice from anyone who will help me improve."

Acuna received 27 first-place votes and three seconds for 144 points. Soto got two firsts and 89 points, and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler was next with one first and 28 points.

Both Acuna and Soto are in Japan with a major league All-Star team.

Acuna started the season at Triple-A and made his debut on April 25, the youngest player in the majors then at 20 years, 128 days at the time. The Venezuelan hit .293 with 26 homers, 64 RBIs and 16 steals with a .917 OPS. He set a Braves record with eight leadoff homers this season and tied a franchise mark by homering in five straight games from Aug. 11-14.

Soto debuted on May 20 at 19 years, 207 days, although in a quirk the Dominican is credited with a home run from five days before his debut — he went deep on June 18 against the New York Yankees in the completion of the May 15 suspended game. Soto hit .292 with 22 homers, 70 RBIs and a .923 OPS. He was two shy of Tony Conigliaro's big league record for home runs by a teenager.

Acuna paid tribute to his fellow nominee before Tuesday's Game 4 of the exhibition series in Hiroshima.

"It's always fun to play with Soto," Acuna said. "I also really enjoy watching him play. We are having a great opportunity to play together here. We enjoy and inspire each other to be better players."

Shohei Ohtani was an overwhelming pick for American League honors despite an elbow injury that stymied his move from Japan to the major leagues and likely will prevent him from pitching next year.

Ohtani was 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA and 63 strikeouts over 51 2/3 innings in 10 starts. As a designated hitter, he batted .285 with 22 homers and 61 RBIs and a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances.

Acuna also had high praise for Ohtani, who played five seasons with Japan's Nippon Ham Fighters before moving to the Angels.

"He is incredible," Acuna said. "He can pitch and hit at a high level. So I want to congratulate him on receiving this award."

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Must Read

Pavlyuchenkova, Gavrilova advance to Hong Kong semis

Oct 13, 2017

The highest ranked player left in the Hong Kong Open, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia has beaten...

Siniakova beats Sharapova to reach Shenzhen Open final

Jan 5, 2018

Defending champion Katerina Siniakova beats Maria Sharapova in Shenzhen Open semifinal to set up...

Fiji crushes NZ 50-7 to roll into Hong Kong 7s quarters

Apr 7, 2018

Fiji has crushed New Zealand 50-7 to complete pool play unbeaten at the Hong Kong Sevens

For most of the F1 teams, 4th place is as good as it gets

Apr 13, 2018

For most of the Formula One 'also-ran' teams, 4th place is as good as it gets

Lin falls to Shi in badminton 3rd rd; Axelsen, Tai advance

Aug 2, 2018

Five-time champion Lin Dan fell to Chinese compatriot Shi Yuqi again while No. 1s Viktor Axelsen...

AseanCoverage is a next-gen news site focusing exclusively on online news from South East Asia.

Contact us: sales[at]aseancoverage.com