The Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) tonight announced that Orioles infielder GUNNAR HENDERSON has been unanimously voted the American League Rookie of the Year, becoming the first unanimous winner in Orioles history. He is the first Orioles player to win the award since GREGG OLSON in 1989, and the seventh overall, also joining CAL RIPKEN, JR. (1982), EDDIE MURRAY (1977), AL BUMBRY (1973), CURT BLEFARY (1965), and RON HANSEN (1960).
Henderson slashed .255/.325/.489 (143-for-560) with 29 doubles, nine triples, 28 home runs, 100 runs, 82 RBI, 56 walks (1 IBB), and 10 stolen bases in 150 games (143 starts) this season. He led Major League Baseball rookies in Baseball Reference Wins Above Replacement (bWAR) with 6.3, as well as in home runs and extra-base hits (66), while leading AL rookies in FanGraphs’ Wins Above Replacement (fWAR) with 4.6, as well as in triples, runs, RBI, and total bases (274). According to STATS, he ranked second among qualified AL rookies in slugging and OPS (.814) and third in on-base percentage. He became the fourth AL rookie since 2002 to score 100 runs in a season, joining Aaron Judge (128, 2017), Mike Trout (129, 2012), and Austin Jackson (103, 2010). He is also the first rookie in team history and 20th in MLB history to record at least 20 doubles, five triples, 20 homers, and 10 stolen bases in a single season.
Henderson set O’s rookie records in extra-base hits, runs, bWAR, and slugging percentage. His historic season led to him being voted the winner of the Louis M. Hatter Most Valuable Oriole Award by members of the local media who cover the team on a regular basis, becoming the fourth rookie to be named the winner of the award since its inception in 1954.
The 22-year-old infielder appeared in 84 games at third base (68 starts) and 83 at shortstop (64 starts), leading the Orioles with 13 Defensive Runs Saved, per Sports Info Solutions. Ten of those were at shortstop, sixth in MLB despite playing over 360 fewer innings at the position than anyone ahead of him. He led MLB with six Runner Runs, a metric designed to evaluate the performance of runners taking extra bases, per Statcast.
Henderson was named AL Rookie of the Year by the Sporting News and Players Choice AL Outstanding Rookie, both of which were voted on by his peers. He was named an AL Silver Slugger Award winner at the utility position, becoming the 15th rookie to claim a Silver Slugger and first in Orioles history. He was also named to Baseball America’s Major League All-Rookie Team. He was selected AL Rookie of the Month for June and AL Player of the Week for the period of June 5-11, and was twice chosen as the winner of the Electric Play of the Week presented by Chevrolet.
Henderson appeared on his first career Opening Day roster in 2023, entering the campaign as the No. 1 overall prospect according to Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, ESPN, FanGraphs, and MLB Pipeline. Last season, he was named the Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year and MLB Pipeline Hitting Prospect of the Year. He represented the Orioles at the 2022 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and later made his Major League debut on August 31 at Cleveland.
Given to the top rookie-eligible players in both leagues, the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Awards are voted upon by the BBWAA prior to the beginning of the Postseason and are based on a weighted points system. Henderson finished ahead of fellow AL finalists Tanner Bibee (CLE) and Triston Casas (BOS).
Henderson joins AL Manager of the Year finalist BRANDON HYDE as one of two Orioles finalists for a BBWAA Award. The remaining winners will be announced live on MLB Network this week with the Manager of the Year announced tomorrow, Tuesday, November 14. The Orioles have had two national BBWAA Award winners in the same year twice in club history. In 1989, Olson was named AL Rookie of the Year while FRANK ROBINSON was named AL Manager of the Year. In 1973, Bumbry was named AL Rookie of the Year and JIM PALMER won the AL Cy Young Award.
In recognition of this honor, the Orioles Charitable Foundation will make a donation to a charitable organization of Henderson’s choice.