In what should come as no surprise to anyone, New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge was named the 2017 American League Rookie of the Year tonight. He was the unanimous choice by the BBWAAA (Baseball Writers Association of America). You can find the voting results by clicking here.
Judge is the ninth Yankees to ever win the award and the first Yankee to win it since Derek Jeter in 1996 (also was unanimous). The 25-year-old took the world by storm with his great season as he led the AL in home runs (52), runs (128), and walks (127). Plus, he was second in RBI’s (114) and slugging percentage (.627).
No one could’ve seen the kind of season Judge coming after striking out 42 times in 27 games in 2016. He went from competing for the starting right field spot in spring training to being one of the faces of baseball. Despite the high strikeout total (208), he was a can’t miss at-bat every single night and even got a portion of right field at Yankee Stadium called the Judge’s chambers.
While Judge had a bad stretch of games after the All-Star break and his Home Run Derby win in Miami, what stood out about the rookie was that he never changed his attitude. He stayed humble, was never too high or too low, and sounded like a leader in just his first season.
Despite hitting .188 in the postseason (9-for-48), Judge did hit four home runs in October and his defense saved the Yankees from going out earlier than they did when he robbed Francisco Lindor of a home run in Game 3 of the ALDS.
Now, Judge will have to wait a couple more nights to find out whether or not he wins the MVP award and becomes the first Yankee to do that since Alex Rodriguez in 2007. Of course, he has some tough competition with Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve in what many deem a two-player race.
Regardless of what happens Thursday night, Yankee fans can only hope that this is the start of a great career for Judge as he becomes a part of the new Yankee core with Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, and Luis Severino.