Rookie of the Year: Aaron Judge (2017)
Aaron Judge had a rookie season for the record books.
Not many, if any, rookies will ever have the season Judge did three years ago. Pete Alonso came close and actually bested Judge’s HR and RBI totals, but was unable to match him in nearly every other category. If it wasn’t for the cheating Houston Astros and Jose Altuve, Judge should have been the AL MVP as well.
Winning the Rookie of the Year unanimously, Judge blasted an MLB rookie record 52 home runs with 114 RBI and a slash line of .284/.422/.627. He was an All-Star and won the Home Run Derby at the mid-summer classic in Miami.
During the 2017 season, Judge became the fastest rookie to 30 home runs, needing just 293 at-bats and smashing Joe DiMaggio’s record (he did it in 596 at-bats). In the era of stat cast, he hit an eye-popping 496-foot blast against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium.
In late September, Judge put the icing on the cake for the award when he broke Mark McGwire’s rookie record of 49 homers when he hit No. 50 at Yankee Stadium against the Royals. He also broke Babe Ruth’s franchise home run record for homers at Yankee Stadium in the final weekend of the regular season.
A year before, Judge played in 27 games for the Yankees and went just 15-for-84 with 42 strikeouts. There were a lot of questions surrounding him heading into 2017, but the 6-foot-7 right fielder silenced all the critics.