Yankees third baseman Miguel Andujar is currently the AL Rookie of the Year front-runner, but we should not take Gleyber Torres out of the picture just yet.
In recent years, the Yankees have witnessed stellar rookie performances. In 2016, Gary Sanchez finished second in Rookie of the Year voting, despite only playing 53 games. Last year, Aaron Judge won the award, setting the MLB record for most home runs ever by a rookie (52). This year, for the first time in franchise history, the Yankees have two rookies hitting over 20 home runs in one season – Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres.
When Gleyber Torres first entered the big league scene in May, it seemed he would run away with the AL Rookie of the Year award. In his first 23 games, Torres hit .325, with nine HR and 24 RBIs. However, following a dip in production in June and a brief DL stint in July, Torres suddenly fell behind Andujar in the race for the award.
Entering Sunday’s game vs. Detroit, Andujar leads AL rookies in BA (.297), SLG % (.526), HR (23) & RBIs (75). Most notably, Andujar has racked up 37 doubles. This offensive production alone is enough to warrant the ROY award to Andujar, but it doesn’t make him the guaranteed winner. Andujar’s -24 Defensive Runs Saved is an MLB worst at 3B, allowing other players to be in the ROY conversation. According to Jeremy Frank (@MLBRandomStats), Torres has a total of 0 Defensive Runs Saved at both 2B and SS, making him an average defender.
Additionally, Torres has been on an offensive tear as of late. In his last 15 games, Torres has hit .415 with four HRs and 12 RBIs. On the season, entering Sunday’s game, Torres leads AL rookies in OPS at .865 and is right behind Andujar with his 22 HRs and 64 RBIs. With a hot September, Torres can close the gap or even surpass Andujar in these categories.
In sum, while Andujar is having a terrific rookie season and deserves serious consideration for the award, Torres is right on Andujar’s heels. Angels rookie phenom Shohei Ohtani isn’t far behind either, making the results even more unpredictable. Regardless, the AL ROY race will be exciting until the very end, shaping up September to be a wild month.