Despite losing the official American League Rookie of the Year Award to Los Angeles Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, Yankees third baseman Miguel Andújar is not going home empty-handed. The 23-year-old was announced as the 2018 Players Choice for AL Outstanding Rookie on Wednesday.
Andújar was called up April 1 after Billy McKinney‘s shoulder injury in Toronto, and never looked back. He took over full-time at third base after Brandon Drury‘s migraines, and was incredible. He was the AL Rookie of the Month for both June and August, and tied with Boston’s Mookie Betts for third-most doubles in the MLB with 47. That tied Boston’s Fred Lynn for most doubles in a season by a rookie, which was done in 1975.
Overall, Andújar hit .297/.328/.527 (128 wRC+) with 27 home runs and 92 RBIs in 149 games. The defensive metrics were less kind to him, however, tagging him at -25 defensive runs saved and -24.5 UZR/150. That’s always been Andújar’s biggest weak point, though he’s frequently observed taking extra infield work before games.
There have been rumblings about Andújar’s place on the 2019 Yankees, as speculation swirls around free agent Manny Machado and his superior defense. Andújar was given a 70 out of 80 for his arm, and certainly has enough athleticism to learn the outfield. I figure the Yankees would try this before relegating an able-bodied 23-year-old to being a full-time designated hitter.