NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Former Diamond 'Dog Aaron Judge was rewarded for his record-breaking season Monday with the American League Rookie of the Year award.
The Yankees slugger, and former Fresno State baseball star, was a unanimous choice for the honor, as was Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger in the National League voting. The awards are voted on by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Judge broke Mark McGwire’s major league record for home runs by a rookie with 52, many of them jaw-dropping, tape-measure shots. He led the American League in homers, runs scored (128) and walks (127) while batting .284 for a Yankees team that fell one win short of the World Series.
The 25-year-old did battle through a lengthy slump following the All-Star break — in which he broke the major league record for consecutive games with a strikeout. But he bounced back with a strong September, hitting .311 with 15 homers and 32 RBIs during a playoff chase.
Judge becomes the ninth Yankee to win Rookie of the Year and the first since Derek Jeter received the honor in 1996. Other Yankees to win the award, which began in 1947, were Gil McDougald (1951), Bob Grim (1954), Tony Kubek (1957), Tom Tresh (1962), Stan Bahnsen (1968), Thurman Munson (1970) and Dave Righetti (1981).
Now the question is whether Judge can also take home the AL MVP, which will be announced Thursday. He and Astros second baseman Jose Altuve are widely considered the front-runners.
The Red Sox’s Fred Lynn (1975) and the Mariners’ Ichiro Suzuki (2001) are the only players who have won Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season.
Like Judge, Bellinger set the rookie home run record in his own league, hitting 39 — a feat made more impressive by the fact that he was not called up to the majors until late April. The 22-year-old, who split time between first base and the outfield, batted .271 with 97 RBIs for the National League champions.
It’s the second year in a row a Dodger won Rookie of the Year. Last season, Corey Seager received the award.
The Red Sox’s Andrew Benintendi finished second in the AL voting while the Orioles’ Trey Mancini was third.
In the NL voting, Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong was second while the Pirates’ Josh Bell finished third.