NEW YORK (AP) – Dustin Pedroia won in a runaway, just like his Red Sox in the World Series.
The little Boston second baseman with the big swing was an easy pick for American League Rookie of the Year, while Ryan Braun barely edged Troy Tulowitzki for the National League honor.
Generously listed at 5-foot-9, Pedroia became a fan favorite at Fenway Park with his all-out style. Plus, few knew he played with a broken left hand down the stretch.
“Everyone doubted me at every level I’ve been to, saying I’m too small, I’m not fast enough, my arm’s not strong enough,” Pedroia said. “There’s a lot of people that have stuck by me and knew deep down in, that there’s something about me that makes me a winning baseball player.”
Pedroia hit .317 with eight home runs and 50 RBIs. He got 24 of the 28 first-place votes to outdistance Tampa Bay outfielder Delmon Young in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Braun’s brawn earned him the NL award. The slugging third baseman from Milwaukee finished two points ahead of Tulowitzki, Colorado’s sparkplug shortstop.
“I had no idea what the vote would be based on,” Braun said. “I knew that it would be a close vote.”
Braun received 17 of 32 first-place votes and finished with 128 points. Tulowitzki got 15 first-place votes and 126 points.
Called up from Triple-A in late May, Braun hit .324 with 34 home runs and 97 RBIs. The Brewers led the majors in homers this season and stayed in contention for the NL Central championship until the final week.
Braun’s .634 slugging percentage led NL players and was the highest by a rookie in Major League history.
His big offensive numbers were enough to overcome 26 errors, tied for most in the majors with Minnesota shortstop Jason Bartlett.
“Everybody has things they need to work on,” Braun said.
Braun showed off his power in the Brewers’ exhibition opener, hitting a grand slam and a three-run homer. He also made a wild throw in that game.
Braun, who turns 24 this Saturday, became the second Brewers player to win Rookie of the Year.
Pedroia will have to hold his award with his right hand – his left hand is in a soft cast. A test in early September revealed a crack, and he played through the pain until having surgery last week.
Pedroia excelled in October. He sparked Boston’s comeback from a 3-1 deficit in the AL championship series, homering and driving in five runs to beat Cleveland in Game 7. Pedroia then led off the World Series opener with a home run, sending the Red Sox toward their sweep of the Rockies.
Pedroia became the sixth Red Sox player to win the AL award and first since Nomar Garciaparra in 1997.