After breaking the Yankees and Hall of Famer Joe Dimaggio’s all-time rookie record for doubles in a season Miguel Andujar has to be the only choice to win the AL Rookie of the Year.
What more can Miggy do to stave of Shohei Ohtani in the AL Rookie of the Year race? He’s emerged as a star for the Yankees in 2018 and his historic season has had a direct impact on them securing home field for this Wednesday’s Wild Card game. Ohtani has been one of the best stories in baseball this year but his Angel’s are 79-82 entering game 162.
Ohtani has made a strong late push with his bat in September and he might be the most gifted player in the game today, but he hasn’t been the best rookie this season. Andujar has despite not even starting the season on the Yankees opening day roster. If not for an injury to Brandon Drury a week into the season Miggy might’ve spent the majority of the season at Triple-A still waiting for his opportunity.
As for Ohtani, we all know his story. He started the season being pegged as the next Babe Ruth, but unfortunately, he only ended up making 10 starts due to injury. Next week he is scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery which will keep him off a big league mound until the 2020 season. Don’t get me wrong his offensive numbers in fewer at-bats are quite impressive, but he hasn’t been as consistent as Andujar. His overall numbers also fail in comparison.
Andujar: .297 AVG, 27 HR, 92 RBI, 46 2B, 169 H, 82 R, .527 SLG, .856 OPS
Ohtani: .286 AVG, 22 HR, 61 RBI, 21 2B, 92 H, 58 R, .568 SLG, .930 OPS
*Andujar leads all major league rookies in Hits, 2B, HR, and RBI
Sure you could argue that Ohtani’s pitching stats combined with his ones as a hitter should push him over the top. However, that doesn’t take into account how much time he spent on the bench while Andujar was in the Yankees lineup every day. Outside of a two-inning outing back on September 6th Ohtani hasn’t pitched in the Angels rotation since June 6th, after he went down with the UCL tear in his elbow. That also forced him out of the lineup as the team’s DH for the rest of June.
Andujar, of course, hasn’t missed any time and from the beginning of the season to the end he’s been the one constant in the Yankees lineup. Even teammate Gleyber Torres who is likely to place third in the ROY vote hasn’t been as consistent as Miggy even though many project him to be the bigger star moving forward.
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Torres was the favorite to win the award at the All-Star break, but a hip injury forced him to miss 15 games in July and once he returned he struggled to regain his All-Star form. Had Ohtani not come back from the injury to deliver big second half number offensively Torres would be the clear runner-up.
In the end what it should really come down to is where would each team be without their star rookies. For the Yankees, you could argue the Miguel Andujar has not only been their best rookie but their team’s MVP.
Without him in the lineup, this team would certainly not be hosting the A’s next Wednesday in the Wild Card game or even be in the playoffs at all. With our without Ohtani, the Angels would still be on outside looking in of the playoffs. Had he been able to stay healthy enough to pitch things might have been a little different but still, probably not enough to earn a playoff spot.
I know what Ohtani accomplished this season was unprecedented in today’s day an age and because of that, he’ll probably be the favorite amongst and the analysts and writers. However, just because he’s a dual threat shouldn’t be enough to win him the award. Especially when you look at all the time he missed while Andujar was on the field leading the Yankees to another postseason berth.
It’d be nice if for just once all these voters who are now obsessed with the analytics picked a winner the way they used to by focusing on which player has the best overall numbers and who helped their team win the most games. If they do that than Andujar should be the only choice.