The 2018 season is over, and that means the debates for some of Major League Baseball’s prestigious regular-season awards — the Most Valuable Player, the Cy Young, the Rookie of the Year, the Gold Glove, the Silver Slugger, and the Manager of the Year — are happening right now.
In this series, we are going to make cases for those players and managers who are in the running for these awards to come away with the hardware in their respective leagues. We will continue our series by examining the candidates for the American League Rookie of the Year.
- Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels — The Japanese two-way star mesmerized the majors with his ability to pitch and hit. Despite playing with a torn UCL and only appearing in 104 games, Ohtani posted .285/.361/.564 slash line and a .952 OPS while hitting 22 homers with 61 RBI. On the mound, he posted a 4-2 record with a 3.31 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 63 strikeouts and 22 walks in 51 2⁄3 innings across 10 starts. Though he did not necessarily lead all AL rookies in any of these categories, the fact that Ohtani was able to produce at a high level both as a pitcher and a hitter — something no player has done since Babe Ruth — made him a valuable player for the Angels this year and one that they will rely on for years to come. Obtain will try to join Tim Salmon (1993) and Mike Trout (2012) as the only Angels to win a Rookie of the Year award.
- Miguel Andujar, New York Yankees — Part of the Yankees’ talented young core, Andujar asserted himself into the conversation as one of the best rookies and one of the top offensive players at the hot corner in the AL. The 23-year-old right-handed hitter either led or tied for first among MLB rookies in home runs (27), RBI (92), doubles (47) and hits (170). Anduja also played the most games (149) and had the most plate appearances (606) among AL rookies, showing that he not only produced at a high level, but also was one of the most durable and consistent rookies this year. Andujar will look to join second baseman/third baseman Gil McDougald (1951) as the only Yankees’ third basemen to win the Rookie of the Year.
- Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees — One of the most hyped prospects lived up to his reputation in his first year with the Yankees. The 21-year-old right-handed hitter finished tied for first among all MLB second basemen in home runs with 24 and ranked second among all AL second basemen in RBI with 77. Though he only had 484 plate appearances in 123 games this year and cooled off in the second half of the year following a hot start to his campaign, Torres also posted an .820 OPS and was an All-Star — something the other two candidates did not earn this season. Like Andujar, Torres will look to join second baseman/third baseman Gil McDougald (1951) as the only Yankees’ second basemen to win the Rookie of the Year.