Yankees: Miguel Andujar robbed of AL Rookie of the Year Award


Shohei Ohtani, who appeared in only 114 games last season, ran away with the AL Rookie of the Year Award, garnering 25 of 30 first-place votes over Yankees third baseman Miguel Andujar.

The argument as to why Yankees third baseman Miguel Andujar should have won the 2018 AL Rookie of the Year Award is a simple one. Without Andujar’s electric bat and stellar stat line, it’s highly likely the Yanks do not win the Wild Card and advance to the ALDS.

Even with Shohei Ohtani in the lineup, the Angels limped to an 80-82 record and subsequent fourth-place finish in the AL West.

Now most pundits will be quick to point out the fact that Ohtani missed almost two months with a torn UCL — shelving him as a “two-way” star. However, injuries are part of the game, so giving him credit for “what could have been” is a farce.

Ohtani’s .564 slugging percentage would have ranked him fourth in the American League. Unfortunately, he didn’t accumulate enough plate appearances to qualify. Who’s to say he would have continued to hit at such a clip had he played the extra 35 games that Andujar did? Andujar wound up playing in 149 contests, second on the club to Giancarlo Stanton’s 158.

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I get that a .285 batting average, .361 OBP with 22 homers and 61 RBIs are impressive, but it doesn’t equal Andujar’s .297 average, 27 home runs, 92 RBIs and franchise record 47 doubles (seventh in the AL in extra base hits).

Ohtani played five years of professional baseball in Japan — and although there’s no arguing the rule that he was indeed an MLB rookie, he wasn’t the same type of rookie as Andujar, who went from 58 games at Triple-A in 2017 to the starting third baseman on a playoff contender in less than six months.

It’s easy to forget that Andujar was thrust to the majors, filling in for the injured Brandon Drury. The 23-year-old went from a potential September call-up to an integral middle-of-the-order force.

Naturally, those from the BBWAA that voted for Ohtani will point out his 51.2 innings pitched (10 games), where he went 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA, 1.161 WHIP, and 11 K/9; but what about the 82 games where he was strictly a designated hitter?

Getting three or four plate appearances without taking the field offers a lot less pressure or wear and tear than say, playing the hot corner at Yankee Stadium. The fact that Andujar was able to consistently produce at the plate, despite his 15 errors in the field (-25 defensive runs saved) goes to show just how locked in he was for a team that had the weight of the world on its shoulders.

The free-swinging Andujar struck out only 97 times, which was five less than Ohtani, who just so happened to have 250 fewer plate appearances.

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Whether you agree with me or not, that Andujar should have walked away with the hardware, the one thing we all can expect is for Miggy to use his second-place finish as motivation for an even more successful 2019 campaign.