Yankees: The five biggest surprises during the 2018 season
One of the main reasons why the Yankees had such a successful regular season was because of the play of their two rookies Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres. Both players failed to make the team out of spring training but once they were called up they delivered two of the greatest rookie seasons in franchise history.
Andujar got called up first during the opening week of the season to replace the injured Brandon Drury and never looked back. He was the Yankees most consistent hitter all season long and should be the favorite to win AL Rookie of the year. Miggy set rookie records for the Yanks in 2018, most notably breaking Joe Dimaggio’s single-season record for doubles with an astounding 47 in 149 games. He also hit a team-leading .297 and led all rookies across baseball with 27 HR and 92 RBI.
Given he didn’t win the starting job out of spring I don’t think anybody saw this level of production coming from Miggy even though the Yankees always knew he would hit at this level. His defense is still a work in progress but he has the work ethic to become a better defender. Miggy is a star in the making and Yankee fans can expect him to continue to be a staple in the middle of their lineup for the next decade plus.
The same can be said for Torres who earned his first All-Star nod at just 21 years old after not making his big league debut until April 22nd. Once Gleyber arrived the Yankees took off and won 17 of 18 games in large part thanks to his exploits. Like Miggy, Torres was one of the Yankees most consistent hitters throughout the year and arguably their most clutch. He picked up two walks within his first month and a half in the big leagues and countless other big hits.
A hip strain sidelined him for the All-Star game and slowed him down a bit in the second half but he still posted some incredible numbers for a kid his age. Torres was one of six Yankees to hit over 20 home runs (24) in 2018 and it was his final home run of the season that broke the all-time major league record for most home runs by a team in a single season.
Torres was also very steady defensively at second base and next season he could be the starting shortstop until Didi Gregorius returns from injury. The sky really is the limit for Gleyber and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he cements himself as one of the top all-around players in the game within the next couple of seasons. That’s how talented he is and I can’t wait to see what he and Miggy have in store for 2019.