Top 10 Rookie of the Year performances in the 2000s

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 03: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Aaron Judge of the Yankees in action. He is a former MLB rookie of the year. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 03: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Aaron Judge of the Yankees in action. He is a former MLB rookie of the year. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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Albert Pujols of the Cardinals celebrates. He won MLB Rookie of the year in 2001.
(Photo credit should read SCOTT ROVAK/AFP via Getty Images) /

No. 4: Albert Pujols – 2001 St. Louis Cardinals

2001 had the best duo of ROY winners because Albert Pujols won the National League ROY, while Ichiro won for the American League. Pujols is another player with a very distinct and iconic swing that will go down in history. “The Machine” put up some incredible stats in 2001 which earned him a spot on the All-Star team, a Silver Slugger Award, and finishing fourth in MVP voting.

As a 21-year-old, Pujols posted an amazing .329 average, .610 slugging, 157 OPS+, 37 home runs, and 130 RBIs. What is also surprising was his 130 RBIs did not lead the league, because Sammy Sosa drove in 160 runs that season. Pujols’ wins above replacements in 2001 was 6.6 and he helped the Cardinals finish with a 93-69 record. Pujols was also a utility player back in the day and played left field, right field, third base, and first base for the Cardinals.

For the young generation, Pujols will be remembered as an Angels player alongside Mike Trout, but his best seasons were in St. Louis. The three-time MVP helped the Cardinals win two World Series (2006 and 2011). Pujols is somehow still in the league and will turn 41-years-old next January.