Aaron Judge Wins 2017 AL Rookie of Year Award

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistNovember 13, 2017

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge runs the bases after hitting a two-run home run during the fourth inning of the American League wild-card baseball game against the Minnesota Twins Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

A banner debut season for New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge resulted in him being named the 2017 American League Rookie of the Year.

MLB announced Judge's win Monday.

Judge beat out Andrew Benintendi of the Boston Red Sox and Trey Mancini of the Baltimore Orioles to become the first Yankees player to win the award since Derek Jeter in 1996.

According to the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Judge was a unanimous winner, collecting all 30 first-place votes. Benintendi was second, earning 23 second-place votes and six third-place votes.

Judge, who was a first-round pick in 2013, made his MLB debut in 2016. He appeared lost out of the gate, with a .179/.263/.345 slash line and 42 strikeouts in 84 at-bats in 27 games.

After making the Yankees 25-man roster out of spring training in 2017, Judge became one of the biggest stars in the sport. The 25-year-old set a rookie record with an AL-leading 52 home runs. He also led the league with 128 runs scored and 127 walks and led all of MLB with 8.2 FanGraphs wins above replacement.

His .422 on-base percentage and .627 slugging percentage ranked second in the AL, trailing only Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout in both categories.

Beyond the monster offensive numbers, Judge proved himself as a complete player. He finished second among AL right fielders with nine defensive runs saved, per FanGraphs, and was named a finalist for the Gold Glove award.

"You know, I've talked about it all year long that he is not just a hitter. He's a complete player," then-Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters during the American League Championship Series. "He's a great defender. He's a great baserunner. And he does so many things right at an early age, on a big stage, and just the way he handles all the attention simply amazes me. It's as good as it gets."

Judge was one of the biggest reasons the Yankees won 91 games during the regular season and reached Game 7 of the ALCS against the Houston Astros.

Judge was a highly regarded prospect in the minors, ranking as high as No. 18 in Baseball Prospectus' Top 101 in 2016.

Judge didn't let a poor start to his MLB career get in the way of a standout rookie campaign. He put his potential on display last season and will be a superstar who leads the Yankees for years to come.

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