Major League Baseball will announce both their American and National League Rookie of the Year award winners tonight. In the National League, the finalists are the Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr., the Nationals’ Juan Soto, and the Dodgers’ Walker Buehler. That is believed by many to be a two-man race between Soto and Acuna Jr. I have Acuna Jr. winning, but you can easily make a case for either of the two.
The American League finalists include two Yankees in Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres, as well as the Angels’ two-way star Shohei Ohtani. As much as I love the two Yanks, and think they’re both deserving (Andujar especially), I really believe Ohtani will win this award. I don’t like the guy, and I think it’s somewhat silly to go crazy over his pitching stats when he made only ten starts. But, there are a few reasons I think he’ll edge out both Miggy and Gleyber to win.
- His sample sizes are smaller, but when he did play he was exceptional, especially for the first pitcher/hitter since Babe Ruth
- There is a lot of anti-Yankee bias in the media when it comes to award voting, and they’ve had ROY candidates get snubbed before (Gary Sanchez in 2016, Robbie Cano in 2005.)
- Andujar and Torres will take votes away from each other
So yeah, I think Ohtani will be the Rookie of the Year. But this post isn’t about him, it’s for the two Baby Bombers. I’ll start with Torres.
As the main return in the Aroldis Chapman deal, there was a lot of hype surrounding Gleyber before he came up. There were talks that he could be an All-Star caliber player for years to come. He has certainly lived up to the hype thus far, earning his first All-Star nod in his rookie season. To me, the most impressive thing about him is that no moment seemed too big. Gleyber played with the confidence of a seasoned veteran, not a 21-year old rookie. He immediately made an impact, coming up clutch numerous times.
Just two weeks after being called up, he delivered a game-tying two-run single in the 9th inning at the defending-champion Astros in a game the Yankees would ultimately win.
He had a walk-off single against the Astros at home later that month
And who could forget his three-run walk-off homer to sweep the Indians at home?
Not only did Torres provide a flair for the dramatic, his power numbers were better than anticipated too. He blasted 24 homers this year after never hitting more than 14 in a season in the minors. He even launched five in four games at one point.
I love Gleyber, and everything he did. Red Sox series aside, you couldn’t have asked for a better rookie season from the kid. That being said, Miguel Andujar deserves the 2018 AL Rookie of the Year award.
Andujar was not only one of baseball’s best rookies, he was one of its best hitters down the stretch. He was the Yankees’ most consistent hitter all year long, and arguably their MVP. His .297 average led the team, his 27 homers put him in a three-way tie with Judge, Hicks, and Didi for second on the team, and his 92 RBI trailed only Stanton. The Yankees won 100 games this year; I don’t think that’s remotely possible without the production they got from Miguel Andujar.
Andujar was a consistent, doubles machine, and just seems like a guy who plays the game hard and has fun doing it. How could you not love him? I know his defense at third was bad, and even horrible at times. But hopefully he can work on that, because his bat is too valuable to have to take out of the lineup for defense late in close games.
Andujar’s name has also come up a lot in trade rumors, especially in potential deals for Indians’ ace Corey Kluber. The rationale behind that would be to trade Andujar, and then sign Manny Machado to take his place at third. While Kluber and Machado are two franchise-altering players, it would be tough to part ways with Andujar. His rookie season was so promising, and you have to think that as he continues to grow stronger, some more of those doubles will turn into homers. We’ll see what happens, but regardless I’m ecstatic that Andujar is part of this baseball team.
Ohtani will probably win it, but boy am I glad we have these two Baby Bombers. Hopefully Gleyber and Miggy are wearing Pinstripes for a long time. (It would be such a Stanzo thing for one of them to get traded like a day after I post this.)