Aaron Judge has won American League Rookie of the Year honors, becoming the first New York Yankees player to receive the award since Derek Jeter in 1996.
Judge won the award unanimously in voting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, announced Monday on MLB Network. The 6-foot-7 slugger's victory was a foregone conclusion after he led the American League with 52 home runs and helped the Yankees reach the postseason as a wild card. Judge is also a finalist for the MVP award.
Ichiro Suzuki in 2001 and Fred Lynn in 1975 are the only players to win the AL MVP and Rookie of the Year awards in the same season.
Boston outfielder Andrew Benintendi finished second to Judge in the Rookie of the Year race, followed by Baltimore slugger Trey Mancini.
Judge's AL-leading home run total also broke the rookie record of 49 set by Oakland's Mark McGwire in 1987. The Yankees entered this season with marginal expectations by their standards, but the prodigious power of Judge and catcher Gary Sanchez transformed them almost overnight into an exciting young team with tremendous potential.
Judge's 495-foot shot on June 11 was the longest home run in the major leagues this season, according to Statcast, and although he struck out 208 times in the regular season and 27 more in the postseason, Judge is one of a handful of reasons why the Yankees suddenly seem to have one of the brightest futures of any team in baseball.
New York came within a victory of the World Series this year, losing to Houston in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.
The NL Rookie of the Year was to be announced later Monday, with Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers a clear favorite.
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