The Sporting News named Chicago Cubs Catcher Geovany Soto the National League Rookie of the Year. The Sporting News voting was done by a panel of 314 Major League players. Soto batted .285 on the year, with 23 home runs and 86 RBI’s. In addition to his clutch hitting, Soto was responsible for running one of the best pitching staff’s in the National League. The Chicago Cubs won 97 games – the most victories by any National League team – and they finished atop the NL Central Division for the 2nd consecutive season. Soto caught 4 starting pitchers who each won at least 11 games (including 17-game winner Ryan Dempster), as the Cubs pitching staff had the 3rd lowest ERA in the National League. Soto also called his 1st career no-hitter when Carlos Zambrano no-hit the Houston Astros in a 5-0 win in a make-up game played at Miller Park in Milwaukee because of the damage done by Hurrican Ike. Zambrano needed only 110 pitches in his no-hitter, as he and Soto worked the ball around all night long – striking ut 10 and walking only 1 batter. Soto was also the first rookie catcher to ever start in an All-Star Game.
The future looks bright for Soto – he is only 25-years old, he has a great, experienced manager to work with in Lou Pinella, and he has an experienced starting pitching staff to work with on a daily basis – Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly, Jason Marquis and Rich Harden. Playing all those day games at Wrigley Field may start to catch up with the young star, but for now, all eyes are smiling on Geovany Soto.
In the American League, the Sporting News named Tampa Bay Rays 3rd baseman Evan Longoria the Rookie of the Year. Despite missing more than a month with a fractured right hand, Longoria still hit .272 in his 122 games played. Longoria hit 27 home runs and drove in 85 runs.