Image credit: Miguel Andujar
Q: Yankees rookie third baseman Miguel Andujar performed in the pressure of a pennant race under the glare of the New York media spotlight. Am I right in thinking it’s those pinstripes that kept him from winning BA’s rookie honor?
— Jake Crouse, Cleveland Heights
A: We selected Angels two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani as our Rookie of the Year, but even if we took the award voting to three places, Andujar would not have cracked the top three. Our finalists included Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. and Nationals outfielder Juan Soto.
The 23-year-old Andujar had an excellent season, one that might have earned him our ROY in a different season, but this year’s rookie class was stacked.
The singular nature of Ohtani’s excellence, both as a dangerous middle-of-the-order hitter and front-line starter, set him apart from the field. but even when comparing Andujar with runner-up Acuna, the comparison favors Acuna, in our view.
Andujar hit .297/.328/.527 with 27 home runs in 149 games, but his edge in playing time and counting stats were erased by Acuna’s rate of productivity. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Acuna was 44 percent more productive than the average hitter, after adjusting for home ballpark, while Andujar was 26 percent better.
That doesn’t even factor in Acuna’s edges in the outfield and on the bases. And like Andujar, he played for a playoff team.