Aaron Judge has been nominated as a finalist for AL rookie of the year.
In the same day where fellow teammate Luis Severino was nominated as one of the three finalists for the American League Cy Young Award, New York Yankees rookie sensation Aaron Judge has been nominated as one of the three finalists for the AL Rookie of the Year Award. He also was selected as the official cover athlete for MLB The Show 2018.
It comes as no surprise that the 25-year-old Yankees slugger, who took the league by storm, has been nominated as one of the best rookies in the AL after putting up a historic 52 home runs (the previous record was 49 held by Mark McGwire in 1987) and helping lead the Yankees back to the American League Championship Series for the first time since 2012.
The humble giant has been everything and more for the New York Yankees in 2017. In spring training it wasn’t even a certainty that he would be starting as he had to battle for the right field position with Aaron Hicks. Luckily for Judge, and more importantly for the Yankees, things turned out for the better as Judge ultimately ran away with the right field position which culminated in the creation of fan zone “The Judge’s Chambers” where lucky fans are selected to cheer for their favorite Yankee superstar.
In a season in which the Yankees weren’t expected to do much with experts around baseball predicting a 4th place finish for the young, inexperienced Baby Bombers, the Aaron Judge led Yankees offensive juggernaut took the league by storm as the MVP candidate finished with 52 home runs, 284 batting average and 114 runs batted in. He added a .422 on-base percentage, .627 slugging percentage, and 1.049 on-base plus slugging percentage.
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Judge finished 1st or 2nd in over six major offensive categories. Major League Baseball has not seen a rookie with such raw power with a combination of defense and speed in recent memory if ever. Despite a subpar first seven weeks of the second half, Judge was able to follow up his astonishing first half with a phenomenal September that saw him hit 15 home runs with a .311 batting average, 32 runs batted in, .463 on-base percentage, .889 slugging percentage, and 1.352 on-base plus slugging percentage.
2017 presented many ups and downs for the Yankees phenom. An All-Star appearance, the Home Run Derby title that overtook defending champion Giancarlo Stanton in his own ballpark, AL MVP candidate, AL Rookie of the Year candidate, a horrific slump, and a bounce-back September was the year for the Judge. The resulting deep playoff run that resulted in the Baby Bombers falling one game short of the World Series in the ALCS to eventual champions the Houston Astros shows that the Yankees may have found their rightful heir to the throne left by Yankee legend Derek Jeter.
The great thing about Aaron Judge is that he isn’t afraid to fail . In order to succeed in New York, specifically the Bronx, that thick skin is going to be needed to endure the pressures that come with donning the pinstripes. Time and time again, especially in the 2017 postseason we’ve witnessed Judge at times look overmatched, even briefly setting the record for strikeouts in a postseason (eventually passed by Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger). However, the more rewarding part is that we also witnessed him bounce back and if the Yankees have aspirations of hoisting another commissioner’s trophy their going to need him to be the head of the pack.
The sky is the limit in the Bronx and thanks to Aaron Judge and that 6’7″ frame, the sky is that much closer. A Rookie of the Year award will be fitting to the new record holder for home runs in a season by a rookie after an incredible 2017 season. But once that award is given it’s time to set sights on the real award that Judge and all Yankees fans alike want….. the World Series trophy.