It was no easy task in either league as the rookie talent was plentiful in both the NL and AL in 2018. Acuña had to overcome teenage sensation Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers playoff star Walker Buehler in order to take home his first of many trophies. Ohtani went head-to-head against a couple of Yankees rookies in Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres and came out ahead thanks to his abilities on the bump and at the plate.
Acuña entered the season No. 1 on the Minor League Ball top 175. He finished the season slashing .293/.366/.552 with a .917 OPS 26 doubles, 26 home runs and 16 stolen bases. If you weren’t aware of Acuña’s talents in the regular season, his memorable grand slam (in the tweet above) against fellow finalist Buehler put him on the map.
Ohtani is the first player to pitch 50 innings and hit 15 home runs since Babe Ruth did it in 1919 per ESPN. And he did both well. Minor League Ball’s No. 3 preseason prospect finished an injury-riddled campaign with 21 doubles and 22 home runs behind a .925 OPS at the plate while going 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA (3.57 FIP) and a 1.61 WHIP with a 63-to-22 strikeout-to-walk mark over 51.2 innings.