MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

MVP, not ROY, best describes Bryant, Correa

MVP, not ROY, best describes Bryant, Correa

The thing about Kris Bryant of the Cubs and Carlos Correa of the Astros is that an argument can be made for both of them in the MVP Award voting that will be announced on MLB Network at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday.

They weren't just good in their rookie seasons. They were critical pieces to their teams' postseason race.

So all things considered, there really wasn't any debate when the Baseball Writers' Association of America Rookie of the Year Awards announced that Bryant, a unanimous choice in the National League, and Correa, who edged out fellow shortstop Francisco Lindor of the Indians in the American League, were the winners on Monday.

AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR VOTING

Player, Club 1st 2nd 3rd Points
Carlos Correa, HOU 17 13   124
Francisco Lindor, CLE 13 14 2 109
Miguel Sano, MIN     20 20
Roberto Osuna, TOR   2 2 8
Billy Burns, OAK   1 3 6
Eddie Rosario, MIN     2 2
Delino DeShields, TEX     1 1

---------------

NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR VOTING

Player, Club 1st 2nd 3rd Points
Kris Bryant, CHC 30     150
Matt Duffy, SF   22 4 70
Jung Ho Kang, PIT   4 16 28
Noah Syndergaard, NYM   3 7 16
Justin Bour, MIA   1 1 4
Joc Pederson, LAD     1 1
Stephen Piscotty, STL     1 1

Correa and Bryant opened the season in the Minors. They were under a microscope when they were called up. And they both handled the challenge without missing a step on their way to postseason appearances to cap off their rookie years.

Lindor was splendid at shortstop after his June 14 callup, and statistically, he was right there with Correa. And third baseman Matt Duffy of the Giants and infielder Jung Ho Kang of the Pirates, the other two NL finalists, had solid resumes.

Bryant and Correa, however, were more than big numbers and rave reviews.

They dealt with the pressures of a postseason drive. They did it for teams with fan bases starved for on-field success. And they did it under the public microscope.

Bryant was the talk of Spring Training from coast to coast, and not just because he was having a monster spring. The Cubs were intent on having Bryant open the season at Triple-A Iowa, and agent Scott Boras was not pleased.

Boras waged a war of words in the media, upset that he felt the Cubs were going to option Bryant so they could delay his potential free agency for a year.

The Cubs swore that wasn't the case. They wanted to make sure Bryant, the second player taken in the 2013 MLB Draft, was ready when he arrived and wasn't going to find himself sent back to the Minors at some point for a little more seasoning.

Bryant shrugged off the efforts to draw him into the outcry.

"I took what [the Cubs] said to do to heart," Bryant said. "I took as many ground balls as I could. I worked on my accuracy and range. I wanted to show people I could play third base."

As it turned out, 12 days and eight games into the regular season, Bryant was in the bigs, taking over at third base for Mike Olt, who went from the Opening Day lineup to the disabled list to Triple-A Iowa and finally to the White Sox.

Unfazed by all the hype surrounding his arrival, Bryant eventually settled in as the primary third baseman for the Cubs, but he also drew starts at first base, left, center and right field. He primarily hit third in the lineup (68 starts), but also hit second (28), fourth (18) and fifth (35).

In 51 fewer plate appearances than Anthony Rizzo, Bryant finished second on the Cubs to the first baseman in home runs (31-26), RBIs (101-99), batting average (.278-.275) and OPS (.899-.858).

Then there was Correa, who went from Double-A to Triple-A to the big leagues by June 8.

In a season in which he didn't even turn 21 until Sept. 22, Correa was never fazed by his big league adventure, stepping into the critical spot in the lineup (third) and in the field (shortstop).

Correa appeared in only 99 games -- the same as Lindor -- but he finished second on the team in average (.279), fifth in home runs (22), second in RBIs (68) and fourth in stolen bases (14). And he didn't fade down the stretch, hitting .275 with six home runs and 23 RBIs after Sept. 1 when the Astros were trying to capture the final AL Wild Card spot.

Toss in the fact that Correa was in the middle of helping an Astros team that had lost a combined 416 games in the four previous seasons, and it was understandable that he would claim the AL rookie honor.

Bryant and Correa answered every challenge they met in 2015.

They established themselves as the best rookies in the NL and AL. They even put themselves into the discussions as potential future MVP Award winners.

Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.