The AL Rookie of the year race has been a heated debate since basically April. The world was put on notice when Shohei Ohtani was carving teams up, while simultaneously hitting missiles into the California night. As the season grew older, Ohtani remained good-not-great. During his stretch of meh-ness, the world was introduced to a 23-year-old rookie in the Bronx by the name of Miguel Andujar.
Andujar has arguably been the best/ most consistent player on the Yankees this year, which is pretty high praise with guys like Judge, Stanton, and Gregorious being on the roster.
Andujar currently sports a slash line of .299/.333/.527, as well as 23 Home runs and an OPS+ of 126. In summary, he’s a pretty good player.
I’m not here to say whether Andujar or Ohtani is the definitive ROTY, but I’ll say the debate is not as one-sided as you think.
Even though Andujar is far and away the better hitter in every statistical category, he, from the last time I checked, has not thrown a pitch in the Major Leagues this year. Otani has been doing in on both sides on the ball, and doing it pretty damn well.
Otani has a 3.31 ERA, a 129 ERA+, and a crisp 11 strikeouts per 9 over 10 starts. He also is hitting .276 with a .897 OPS and 15 Home runs in 80 games. Although he has only made two starts since the beginning of June due to elbow problems, Otani still has the entire month of September to boost his case for the award. If he goes out and pitches lights out over his next 3 or 4 starts, and continues to hit at his current clip, he’ll make the award race much more interesting.
UPDATE: So, basically immediately after submitting this, it was announced that Ohtani would need Tommy John Surgery and is done with pitching for a very long time. He responded to this news by going 4-4 with 2 home runs that last night. His home run total is now up to 18. So even though he won’t be able to outdo Andujar through his pitching, he appears to be heating up at the plate.
As a Red Sox fan, what Andujar has been doing this season is absurd. He is my current pick to win the AL ROTY. But, like I said, the season isn’t over, and Otani has more than enough time to impress both as a pitcher (Scratch that, LOL) and a hitter.
Should be a fun final month for baseball fans.
Photo: Getty Images