Aaron Judge’s magical season capped with Rookie of the Year
By Ken Davidoff
ORLANDO, Fla. — All rose.
Aaron Judge, not surprisingly, has won the 2017 American League Rookie of the Year award by unanimous decree. All 30 Baseball Writers Association of America voters placed the Yankees right fielder first on their ballot, making him the ninth such AL rookie to do so and 22nd overall. Among the star names in that group of unanimous recipients is Derek Jeter, the last Yankee to capture this award (in 1996).
The sweetest plum remains for Judge: On Thursday, he’ll learn whether he can add the AL Most Valuable Player trophy to his resume. He has been announced as a finalist for the award alongside the Astros’ Jose Altuve (viewed as the favorite) and the Indians’ Jose Ramirez.
No matter what happens Thursday, Judge’s rookie campaign will be remembered as one of the best freshman years in baseball history. After not making the Yankees’ Opening Day roster until the tail end of spring training, Judge — whose 2016 major league cup of coffee saw him strike out 42 times in 84 at-bats — set the rookie single-season record with 52 home runs. That total led the AL, as did his 127 walks and 128 runs scored (and his 208 strikeouts, for accuracy’s sake).
His fantastic first half, culminating in his Home Run Derby victory at Marlins Park, turned him into a transcendent figure, someone baseball commissioner Rob Manfred projected as a potential face of the game.