As expected, New York Yankees rookie right fielder Aaron Judge was unanimously named the 2017 American League Rookie of the Year on Monday night. He received all 30 first place votes to beat out second place finisher Andrew Benintendi of the Red Sox, and third place finisher Trey Mancini of the Orioles.
The 25-year-old Judge was the clear AL Rookie of the Year favorite thanks to his record breaking season. Judge hit .284/.422/.627 overall this year and set new rookie records with 52 home runs and 127 walks, and yes, with 208 strikeouts as well. That comes after a brief 2016 MLB debut in which Judge struck out 42 times in 84 at-bats.
Here's how the three Rookie of the Year finalists stacked up:
By the FanGraphs version of WAR, Judge was the best player in baseball in 2017. That includes rookies and veterans, position players and pitchers. He led the AL in runs (128), homers (52), and walks (127), batted third in the All-Star Game, and won the Home Run Derby. Judge was the clear favorite for AL Rookie of the Year and is also a finalist for the AL MVP award.
Judge is the first Yankee to win Rookie of the Year since Derek Jeter in 1996, and the ninth Yankee to win the award overall. He joins Jeter, Dave Righetti (1981), Thurman Munson (1970), Stan Bahnsen (1968), Tom Tresh (1962), Tony Kubek (1957), Bob Grim (1954), and Gil McDougald (1951). Only the Dodgers have had more Rookie of the Year winners in history than the Yankees.
Benintendi and Mancini both deserve their second and third place finishes, of course. Benintendi was the first 20-20 rookie since Mike Trout in 2012, and Mancini hit the most homers by an O's rookie since Cal Ripken Jr. set the franchise's rookie record with 28 homers in 1982. In any other year, both would've been viable Rookie of the Year winners. Just not in the year Aaron Judge was a rookie as well.
As a reminder, voting for all major awards takes places after the regular season and before the postseason. These are regular season awards only. The full 2017 AL Rookie of the Year voting results can be seen at the BBWAA's site.