Judge, Bellinger unanimous picks as Rookies of the Year
The only major question was whether it would be unanimous — and it was.
Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger are baseball’s Rookies of the Year, after their recordsetting home run binges left no need for any dissenting opinions. Judge led the American League with 52 homers, the most ever by a rookie. Bellinger hit 39 and had to settle for the National League’s rookie record.
Judge and Bellinger received every first-place vote available from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Judge became the first New York Yankees player to receive this award since Derek Jeter in 1996. Bellinger gave the Dodgers a record 18th Rookie of the Year winner.
“Watching him from the West Coast, what he did on the East Coast, was awesome,” Bellinger said. “I was a big fan of his, and met him during the All-Star game, and he’s a humble dude. I think we’re both reflecting, now that the season’s over, on the kind of seasons that we’ve had.”
This was the first time both Rookie of the Year awards were unanimous since 1997, when Nomar Garciaparra of Boston and Scott Rolen of Philadelphia won.
This season’s votes were announced Monday
night. Boston outfielder Andrew Benintendi finished second in the AL, followed by Baltimore slugger Trey Mancini. St. Louis infielder Paul DeJong was the NL runner-up, with Pittsburgh first baseman Josh Bell finishing third.
Judge is also an MVP finalist.
“Obviously it was an amazing, remarkable year that no one would have predicted,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “When you drop 52 — I think he really should have had 53, one that instant replay didn’t protect. ... It should be a higher number. It was just an incredible year.”
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 year.
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.