After breaking the record for most home runs hit by a rookie in a single season, as well as single handily creating a new wave of young Yankee fans all over the world – Aaron Judge was the unanimous winner of the American League Rookie of the Year Award.
This is the first time in over 20 years that a Yankees rookie has received this award. The last – Derek Jeter in 1996.
Judge pictured after winning the Home Run Derby in Miami
Here’s how Judge ended his season in the rookie ranks:
52 HR (1st) 79 XBH (1st) 128 R (1st) 114 R (1st) 127 BB (1st) .422 OBP (1st) .627 SLG (1st) 1.049 OPS (1st) 171 OPS+ (1st) 173 wRC+ (1st) 340 total bases (1st) 8.1 bWAR (1st) 8.2 fWAR (1st).
At the beginning of the 2017 season the Yankees organization called this a “rebuilding year” – fast-forward to October and the Yankees came one game away from the World Series. It was an incredible ride – with a young Yankee team that had a very similar underdog-type feeling to the ’96 Yankees that won it all when Jeter was a rookie. Like Jeter – Judge carries himself with class and is a constant professional. Even during his mid-season slump, his demeanor always stayed the same – handling the pressure of being the number one professional athlete in New York City like he was a 10-year veteran – all at the young age of 25.
Judge Robs Astros’ Yuli Gurriel of a Home Run in Game 7 of the ALCS
Judge is also a finalist for AL MVP along with World Series Champ Jose Altuve – which being a rookie finalist for league MVP is an incredible feat in itself.
There’s no doubt that Judge is in the beginning of what could be a storied career – and at the center of a young New York Yankees team that will be contenders for seasons to come. Even if he doesn’t win the MVP Award this year, he surely will win it in the future. So as they say in the Bronx – All Rise, the Judge has entered.