Photo Credit: SD Dirk

By Zane Miller

10. Andrew Bailey (2009)

Bailey claimed the RotY title in 2009 with the Oakland Athletics, as he picked up six wins and 26 saves with 91 strikeouts and a 1.84 ERA over the course of 83.1 innings pitched. Despite this hot start, Bailey would struggle to keep the momentum going long-term as he ended his playing career after the 2017 season with a total of 16 wins and 95 saves, 276 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.12 in 274.1 innings pitched.

9. Kazuhiro Sasaki (2000)

Sasaki won the 2000 RotY award, joining the Seattle Mariners after spending the first 10 seasons of his career in his native Japan, claiming a pair of wins and 37 saves while getting 78 strikeouts and a 3.16 ERA in 62.2 innings pitched. Sasaki only pitched in three more MLB seasons, all of which with the Mariners, as he ended his time in the league with seven wins and 129 saves, 242 strikeouts and a career ERA of 3.14 before returning to Japan after the 2003 season. In 2014, Sasaki joined the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame.

8. Angel Berroa (2003)

Berroa picked up RotY honors in 2003 with the Kansas City Royals, nabbing 17 home runs, 73 RBIs and 163 hits in 158 games played. Berroa would play for Kansas City for the majority of his career, though he would struggle to maintain a long-term roster spot as he would exit the MLB after the 2009 campaign with a total of 46 home runs, 254 RBIs and 665 hits in just 746 games.

7. Bobby Crosby (2004)

Crosby scored the RotY title in 2004 while with the Athletics, hitting 22 home runs, 64 RBIs and 130 hits in 151 games. Though Crosby would never again come close to reaching the same home run totals of his rookie season, he would remain in Oakland for much of his career, ending up with 62 home runs, 276 RBIs and 605 hits in 747 career games played before leaving the MLB after the 2010 season.

6. Huston Street (2005)

Street nabbed the RotY crown in 2005 while also with the Athletics, earning five wins and 23 saves to go along with 72 strikeouts in 78.1 innings for an impressive 1.72 ERA. Street would become a reliable closer for the remainder of his career, which would be split between the Athletics, Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Angels and San Diego Padres. Retiring after the 2017 season, Street claimed 42 career wins and 324 saves, 665 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.95 in 680 innings pitched.

5. Eric Hinske (2002)

Photo Credit: Bluebird Banter

Hinske captured the RotY trophy in 2002 with the Toronto Blue Jays thanks to a season featuring 24 home runs, 84 RBIs and 158 hits in 151 games played. Though Hinske spent most of his career with the Blue Jays, his relatively short stints with both the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees would bear fruit as Hinske won the 2007 World Series with the Red Sox before heading to New York for their World Series title in 2009, though he would only get one plate appearance during that postseason. Before hanging it up after the 2013 season, Hinske collected 137 career home runs, 522 RBIs and 947 hits in 1,387 games played. Despite retiring, Hinske was not done winning championships, as he got his third World Series ring after helping to end the Chicago Cubs’ 108-year long drought in 2016 as the team’s assistant hitting coach.

4. Evan Longoria (2008)

Photo Credit: Yahoo! Sports

Longoria scored the 2008 RotY award with the Tampa Bay Rays, crushing 27 home runs, 85 RBIs and 122 hits in 122 games played. Longoria spent the majority of his career with the Rays with a significant stay with the San Francisco Giants as well, with his best overall season coming with Tampa Bay in 2009 as he won both a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger that year. Though Longoria is still technically an active player as of this writing, he has yet to be signed with an MLB team for 2024. Should he announce his retirement, he will finish with an impressive 342 home runs, 1,159 RBIs and 1,930 hits in 1,986 career games.

3. Dustin Pedroia (2007)

Photo Credit: Keith Allison - Wikipedia

Pedroia nabbed RotY honors in 2007 with the Boston Red Sox, as he earned eight home runs, 50 RBIs and 165 hits in 139 games played. Pedroia played his entire career in a Red Sox uniform and immediately paid dividends for the team, winning the World Series in his rookie season while helping bring another World Series title in 2013. In addition, Pedroia successfully evaded the sophomore slump, as he won the AL MVP in 2008 with 17 dingers, 83 RBIs and an MLB-best 213 hits in 157 games. However, he would be bit by the injury bug late in his career, forcing his retirement after the 2019 season. Regardless, Pedroia put up a total of 140 home runs, 725 RBIs and 1,805 hits in 1,512 career games and will be inducted into the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2024, with his first year of National Baseball Hall of Fame eligibility coming in 2025.

2. Ichiro Suzuki (2001)

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Hayes - Wikipedia

Ichiro dominated the RotY class in 2001 with the Mariners after playing in Japan for the first nine seasons of his pro career, hitting eight home runs, 69 RBIs and an MLB-best 242 hits in 157 games, not only winning Rookie of the Year but also taking the AL MVP award in a season which saw the Mariners tie for the most regular season wins in MLB history at 116. Although Ichiro would not finish inside the top-five for MVP voting again, he would set a new single-season record in 2004 with 262 hits to break the previous record of 257 set by George Sisler of the St. Louis Browns (now Baltimore Orioles) in 1920. Retiring in 2019, Ichiro claimed 117 home runs to go along with 780 RBIs and 3,089 hits in 2,653 games at the MLB level. Ichiro was inducted into the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame in 2022 and will likely join the National Baseball Hall of Fame on the first ballot in 2025.

1. Justin Verlander (2006)

Photo Credit: Larry Syverson - Wikipedia

Verlander collected the 2006 RotY trophy as a member of the Detroit Tigers, getting 17 wins and 124 strikeouts in 186 innings pitched for a 3.63 ERA. Verlander has played most his career so far with the Tigers, with a significant amount of playing time coming with the Houston Astros as well. With the Tigers, he would follow up his rookie campaign with a top-five finish in the AL Cy Young Award race in 2007, getting 18 wins with 183 strikeouts in 201.2 innings pitched for a 3.66 ERA. He would come even closer to winning the Cy Young with a third-place finish in 2009, thanks to scoring 19 wins and 269 strikeouts in 240 innings pitched, leading the MLB in all three categories for a 3.45 ERA, before breaking through in 2011 to not only take the CYA, but also become one of the few pitchers to win the MVP award as he won 24 games with 250 strikeouts and 251 innings pitched to again lead the MLB in three major categories, while having an AL-leading 2.40 ERA.

Verlander threatened for the CYA two more times in Detroit, getting 17 wins with an MLB-leading 239 strikeouts and 238.1 innings pitched for a 2.64 ERA, finishing runner-up for the award in 2012, before finishing runner-up yet again in 2016 on the strength of 16 wins, 254 strikeouts and a 3.04 ERA in 227.2 innings. Upon joining the Astros in 2017, Verlander would get the World Series ring that had evaded him in the Motor City, which he would follow up with another second-place finish in CYA voting in 2018, getting 16 wins while striking out a league-leading 290 batters for an ERA of 2.52 in 214 innings.

In 2019, Verlander would claim his second Cy Young Award, going an MLB-best 223 innings while scoring his second career 20+ win season, earning 300 strikeouts in the process for a 2.58 ERA. However, he would soon undergo Tommy John surgery which would force him out for most of the next two seasons. Despite the scare, Verlander would come back better than ever for 2022, earning his third career Cy Young Award with an MLB-leading 1.75 ERA and an AL-best 18 victories, getting 185 strikeouts over 175 innings in the process. Most importantly, Verlander would help lead the Astros to the 2022 World Series title for the second championship of his career. With Verlander still active coming into 2024, he could definitely run up the score to further cement his place in the number one spot on this list.