Celebrate MLB's young stars with the best rookies at every position in 2017
When the Rookie of the Year Awards are handed out on Monday at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network, two very deserving players will take home the prize. But you can't even play a backyard game of baseball with just two guys. So, let's help out by putting together a full lineup of rookies. Because the future belongs to the youth.
C: Manny Piña, .279/.327/.424, 9 HR, 43 RBI, 359 PA
Shockingly, Piña made his Major League debut all the way back in 2011 -- and even appeared in 2012 and 2016 -- but didn't pass his rookie limit until this year. Still, at the age of 30, his emergence was better late than never as he helped the surprising Brewers make a push for a postseason spot.
1B: Cody Bellinger, .267/.352/.581, 39 HR, 97 RBI, 548 PA
The likely NL Rookie of the Year, Bellinger finished with the third-most home runs by a rookie ever and finished second in the National League in homers. With a fluid, seemingly boneless swing and the kind of swagger that the point guard on your middle school basketball team possessed, Bellinger helped power the Dodgers to the World Series.
2B: Ozzie Albies, .286/.354/.456, 6 HR, 28 RBI, 244 PA
With apologies to Ian Happ, who split time starting at second base and center field for the Cubs, the award goes to the Braves' Albies. Though he doesn't yet have Happ's power, Albies has great quickness (8-of-9 stealing bases in the Majors) and explosive range that can also play at short.
SS: Paul DeJong, .285/.325/.532, 25 HR, 65 RBI, 443 PA
The Cardinals can seemingly conjure rookie shortstops at will. In 2016, Aledmys Diaz emerged from a cool breeze to hit .300 with 17 homers. After Diaz struggled in his sophomore campaign, the Cardinals reached back into their Minor League bag of tricks and pulled out DeJong. All he did was smash the ball like he played an infield corner rather than shortstop.
3B: Matt Chapman, .234/.313/.472, 14 HR, 40 RBI, 326 PA
Though Chapman will likely never hit for a high average, he more than makes up for it with his ability to hammer dingers. He also displays a smooth glove, which could soon see him mentioned alongside players like Adrian Beltre and Nolan Arenado for the title of best defensive third baseman in MLB.
LF: Rhys Hoskins, .259/.396/.618, 18 HR, 48 RBI, 212 PA
After bashing 29 home runs at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, the surprising slugger reached the Majors and became a baseball cheat code as seemingly every at-bat ended in a home run. That's not far from the truth -- from Aug. 14-27, Hoskins played in 14 games. He hit 11 home runs in that time frame.
CF: Manuel Margot, .263/.313/.409, 13 HR, 39 RBI, 529 PA
The Padres' future looks very, very bright, and it's thanks to the emergence of players like Margot. While the strikeouts are a bit concerning, Margot set a career high in home runs in a season and his wheels helped him run down almost anything in Petco Park's spacious center field.
RF: Aaron Judge, .284/.422/.627, 52 HR, 114 RBI, 678 PA
His 52 towering, sky-breaking dingers broke Mark McGwire's record for most home runs by a rookie and earned him his very own Judge's Chambers in the Yankee Stadium stands. An honest-to-god Supreme Court justice even sat in that section. What sets Judge apart from some of the other massive mashers is that he's pretty good on defense, too.
P: Jordan Montgomery, 9-7, 3.88 ERA, 8.3 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 155 1/3 IP
Though Montgomery didn't appear in the Yankees' postseason run, he threw more innings than any other American League rookie. While the Yankees will likely look to bolster their starting rotation as CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda are currently free agents, Montgomery's breakout means he'll now be tasked with being an important piece next season.