Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was a unanimous pick for National League Rookie of the Year after he batted .275 with 26 home runs and 99 RBIs to go with a .369 on-base percentage in 2015.
Bryant, 23, tied for the major league home run lead among first-year players while leading all full-time NL rookies in OBP, slugging and OPS. He led all NL hitters in strikeouts with 199 but came through when the Cubs needed it most, hitting .292 with a .417 on-base percentage with runners in scoring position.
Bryant received all 30 first-place votes, for a total of 150 points, from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in balloting announced Monday.
“I think we’re in very similar situations in that we’re surrounded by a lot of young guys,” Bryant said. “I think the only expectations that really matter are the ones you put on yourself. I definitely exceeded my own expectations.”
Bryant, chosen second overall by the Cubs in 2013, made his big league debut April 17 and quickly became an All-Star as Chicago returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Seeking their first championship since 1908, the Cubs were swept by the New York Mets in the NLCS after beating the Cardinals in the NLDS.
“I think there is a way to top this year, and that’s to win the World Series,” Bryant said. “I think heading into next year, this whole experience is going to help myself and our whole team in general.”
Bryant and Correa each earned the major league minimum salary of $507,500.
Bryant was left in the minors at the start of the season, despite showing his prodigious power during an outstanding spring training. Chicago brought Bryant up after waiting just long enough to ensure he cannot become a free agent until after the 2021 season.
“I think I played with a little bit of a chip on my shoulder this year, and I think it’s good to play that way sometimes,” Bryant said. “In high school, I kind of got labeled like I didn’t really care about playing just because I was so relaxed out there, but that couldn’t be any further from the truth.”
Bryant has deceptive speed and baserunning ability. He swiped 13 bases last season, third among NL rookies. At one point, Cubs manager Joe Maddon called him the “best baserunner” on the team.
“He is always trying to learn and improve and doesn’t have fear of making adjustments,” Cubs hitting coach John Mallee said Monday. “He wants to be the best player in the game.”
Bryant is the Cubs’ sixth ROY winner and first since catcher Geovany Soto in 2008.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.