Norichika Aoki never really had a chance to win Rookie of the Year. He didn’t get the Bryce Harper hype. He wasn’t an All-Star like Wade Miley. He wasn’t on a division-winner like Todd Frazier. But he did have an excellent rookie season, and he finished 5th in the voting, one point behind Colorado’s Wilin Rosario for 4th place. Brewers pitcher Michael Fiers did not receive any votes. Harper took home the award in the 4th-closest vote ever.
Aoki is the first Brewers player to receive votes for Rookie of the Year since Casey McGehee in 2009. McGehee also finished 5th that year, with one first-place vote and 18 total points. This year, Aoki received two second-place votes and five third-place votes.
Aoki hit .288/.355/.433 in his first season stateside, finishing the year with 10 home runs, 30 stolen bases and 2.9 fWAR. Starting the season as a reserve, Aoki found his way into the starting lineup by May, thanks to some hot hitting and injuries forcing Corey Hart to first base. Aoki’s fWAR was second only to Harper’s 4.9 among NL rookies.
Fiers made his MLB debut on May 29 in Dodger Stadium, and proceeded to throw 7 innings of one-hit, one-run ball. He finished the year with 22 starts, throwing 127.2 big league innings with a 9.52 K/9, 2.54 BB/9, 3.74 ERA and 3.09 FIP. That FIP was the lowest among all rookie starting pitchers, and Fiers’ 3.0 fWAR was second in the NL to Miley’s 4.8.
The Brewers haven’t had a Rookie of the Year winner since 2007, when Ryan Braun edged out Troy Tulowitzki.