Padres’ Jake Cronenworth does not win NL Rookie of the Year

Padres Jake Cronenworth

(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

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(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Padres’ rookie sensation Jake Cronenworth came up short in the National League’s Rookie of the Year Award voting.

For the second consecutive year, the Padres were represented in the National League’s top-three for the Rookie of the Year Award. Last year, Fernando Tatis Jr. finished third, despite playing in only 84 games. The 20-year-old was limited by injuries in 2019, and New York Mets’ Pete Alonso pulled away in the second half, posting gaudy numbers.

With Tatis entering his sophomore season, the Padres had a couple of candidates on the spring training roster that could make a case for the league’s ROY voting. Among those included Adrian Morejon and MacKenzie Gore. Nobody expected Jake Cronenworth to make a strong argument for taking home the award.

In 54 games, the 26-year-old made the most of his playing time. When Eric Hosmer went down early in the year, Jake Cronenworth stepped in. He hit .334 with the Rays’ Triple-A outfit in 2019 and came over to San Diego via the Tommy Pham trade during the offseason. Cronenworth was always known as a two-way player, touching 94 MPH on his fastball, potentially leaving the door open to pitch in relief.

But with a crowded pitching staff, the Padres’ plan to utilize Cronenworth came solely in the hitting department. He posted a .285/.354/.477 line with rookie-leading 15 doubles, three triples, four home runs, and 20 RBI’s. He grabbed a firm spot in the batting order, handling second base in the process.

Despite his outstanding season, the BBWAA members felt Devin Williams of the Milwaukee Brewers had a better year.

Williams, 26, was the team’s second-round pick in 2013 and posted a 0.33 ERA in 22 appearances. He made 13 appearances in 2019, spinning a 3.95 ERA while fanning a batter per innings in 13.2 innings of work. He found his groove in the shortened season, striking out 53 batters in 27.0 innings.

Most of his workload came in the seventh and eighth innings, setting the stage for closer Josh Hader. He was in a word, dominant but also didn’t record a save or make any starts.

Of the three candidates, including Alec Bohm, Cronenworth proved the most success over a larger sample size. Bohm, 24, made his highly-anticipated debut after being selected with the third overall pick in 2018. He posted a .338/.400/.481 line with 11 doubles, four home runs, and 23 RBI’s.

An early look at potential Padres’ candidates for NL ROY in 2021 likely include Gore, Luis Patino, and Luis Campusano. Patino, 21, made his debut earlier than expected, but his rookie status remains intact through the 2021 season because he appeared in only 11 games. Campusano had an impressive debut, smacking a laser home run to the opposite field against the Athletics in his one and only game.

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