The Baseball Writers’ Association of America clearly are feeling the Yankees’ youth movement going forward. Today, Aaron Judge was announced as a finalist for the American League Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year award. Luis Severino was named a finalist for the AL Cy Young award.

Judge’s season was downright incredible for a guy who batted .179/.263/.345 with a 44.2% strikeout rate during a 27-game audition at the end of the 2016 season. He finished the season on the 15-day disabled list with a right oblique strain. Despite opening 2017 as the Yankees No. 4 prospect, Judge still had to compete with Aaron Hicks for the starting job in right field. He won the job, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Judge demolished a rookie-record 52 home runs, and also drove in 114 RBIs. Despite a slightly inflated 30.7% strikeout rate, the 25-year-old led the American League in runs created (149) and walks (127). Judge is also a finalist for an AL Gold Glove in right field, thanks to his 6.1 UZR and 9 DRS.

His Competition

Judge faces some formidable competition in the Houston Astros 2B José Altuve and the Cleveland Indians 2B/3B José Ramírez:

  • Altuve: .346/.410/.547, 24 HR, 81 RBI, 32 SB, -1.9 UZR, 3 DRS (7.5 fWAR)
  • Ramírez: .318/.374/.583, 29 HR, 107 RBI, 17 SB, 0.3/3.8 UZR (2B/3B), 5/0 DRS (2B/3B) (6.6 fWAR)
  • Judge: .284/.422/.627, 52 HR, 114 RBI, 9 SB, 6.1 UZR, 9 DRS (8.2 fWAR)

I think it will come down to the importance of defense and the importance of a high batting average vs. high power output. Despite a 62-point difference between Altuve and Judge’s averages, Judge maintains a 12-point advantage in on-base percentage. Ramírez almost certainly finishes third behind these two. Fangraphs says Aaron Judge is the most valuable of the three, and I have to agree with them.

Judge is also a finalist for Rookie of the Year. I will simply let the statistics speak for themselves when I say that Judge might just win the award unanimously. His competition is Boston Red Sox LF Andrew Benintendi and Baltimore Orioles 1B/OF Trey Mancini:

  • Benintendi: .271/.352/.424, 20 HR, 90 RBI, 20 SB, 0.9 UZR, 9 DRS (2.2 fWAR)
  • Mancini: .293/.338/.488, 24 HR, 78 RBI, 1 SB, -1.2/-7.9 UZR (1B/OF), -4/-1 DRS (1B/OF) (1.8 fWAR)
  • Judge: .284/.422/.627, 52 HR, 114 RBI, 9 SB, 6.1 UZR, 9 DRS (8.2 fWAR)

Judge is worth six wins more than Benintendi. I don’t think this one will be close.

Luis Severino‘s 2016 was simply awful. He went 0-6 in his first seven starts, and was placed on the disabled list May 13 with right triceps inflammation. Once activated 15 days later, he was optioned to Triple-A until July. He came up July 25, and was used mainly in relief. He pitched to a 0.39 ERA in 23⅓ innings with a 9.64 K/9.

That stint as a reliever was enough for the Yankees to try him again in the starting rotation. And it was so worth it. Severino went 14-6 (which does not include the countless times the bullpen blew leads after his exit) with a stellar 2.98 ERA (3.08 FIP) and 10.7 K/9. One year after only making 11 starts, Severino became the ace of the Yankee rotation and made 31 starts. He was named an All-Star in 2017.

His Competition

Severino faces a stacked field for AL Cy Young: Indians RHP Corey Kluber and Red Sox LHP Chris Sale.

  • Kluber: 18-4, 2.25 ERA (2.50 FIP), 265 K, 36 BB, .192 BAA (7.3 fWAR)
  • Sale: 17-8, 2.90 ERA (2.45 FIP), 308 K, 43 BB, .206 BAA (7.7 fWAR)
  • Severino: 14-6, 2.98 ERA (3.08 FIP), 230 K, 51 BB, 207 BAA (5.7 fWAR)

Severino’s season was an incredible bounce back. But, I think both Kluber and Sale have him beat. Kluber’s ability to miss bats, but not walk people and Sale’s sheer stuff make them tough to overcome. I think it goes to Kluber this year.


Here are the last Yankees to win each award:

  • MVP: Alex Rodriguez (2005)
  • RoY: Derek Jeter (1996)
  • Cy Young: Roger Clemens (2001)

The Yankees are certainly hoping that their players can get some hardware as the offseason gets underway.


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