Miguel Andujar should be a walkaway winner for the 2018 American League Rookie of the Year. But truth be told, two glamour boys may finish ahead of him.
A publication called Betting News picks (in order) Gleyber Torres, Shohei Ohtani, and Miguel Andujar to finish one-two-three for the 2018 American League Rookie of the Year award. There’s money involved in those odds, so we have to give the boys in Vegas some credence. And to back that up, Gambling Sites.Org lists the same rankings.
Trouble is though, that’s upside down, and it’s weighted in favor of popularity and image instead of production on the field. This is not to take anything away from the year’s both Torres and Ohtani have had, and they should be roundly appreciated for what they have accomplished.
We know that these types of awards do not always go to the player with the “better and bigger” numbers. Which is why Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves first baseman, stands a zero chance of winning the NL MVP award, despite grinding out a consistent and outstanding season as a mainstay in the Braves lineup.
So, let’s get the numbers out of the way for each of the three candidates for Rookie of the Year (ROY) in the American League.
As with any set of comparative numbers, it becomes a take-your-pick game to prove whatever one wants to show. I see no sense in doing that here. Instead, I’ll just ask that you concentrate on Miguel Andujar’s numbers and conclude that he has not had a remarkable season for any player, let alone a rookie, who has been a significant component in the Yankees lineup for more 150 regular season games.
Shohei Ohtani and I have not forgotten that he also has impressive talent as a pitcher, plays in Los Angeles and is showcased by ESPN and baseball in general on every occasion they can. He’s a Hollywood idol with an even greater following back home in his native Japan.
Gleyber Torres carries the same “star” tag as well as the glamour boy of the Yankees overflowing farm system who was stolen from the Chicago Cubs when they were in a desperate search for their first World Championship in a thousand years. With good looks and the ability to communicate in English, Torres, along with Aaron Judge, have become the poster boys for the Baby Bombers. Fine, I have no problem with that.
But as an unabashed Yankee fan, and one who has followed and watched both Torres and Andujar over this season, it is Andujar who has hit consistently, no matter where Aaron Boone has placed him in the Yankees lineup. 44 doubles and 167 hits say that’s so.
Andujar detractors would point to the fifteen errors he’s made at third base. Consider, however, that’s over almost 1200 chances, and none of these miscues (to my recollection) were mental errors. Miguel Andujar’s bat is more prominent than his glove, and perhaps that will always be, and the Yankees will need to move him to the outfield or first base down the road.
Writers will have a final look at Andujar and Torres during the playoffs before casting their votes for ROY. This, while Shohei Ohtani watches from a hospital bed (yes, it does matter where your team finishes in these awards), following what should have been season-ending Tommy John surgery a month ago.
Miguel Andujar, along with Didi Gregorius, are the hidden explosives in the Yankees lineup. It’s been that way all year. Now, when a national stage presents itself, sit back and watch the Yankees third baseman ride the undercurrent of stardom which, while it doesn’t quite reach Hollywood, is well known in the Bronx.
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