Yankees slugger Aaron Judge captured the attention of Major League Baseball with his remarkable rookie season. There was the effortless and otherwordly power on display at the Home Run Derby in July and daily at Yankee Stadium, where he was backed by a Judge's chamber cheering section that helped make
Yankees slugger Aaron Judge captured the attention of Major League Baseball with his remarkable rookie season. There was the effortless and otherwordly power on display at the Home Run Derby in July and daily at Yankee Stadium, where he was backed by a Judge's chamber cheering section that helped make "All Rise" a catchphrase that will be linked to the 2017 season.
Judge racked up accolades for his special season, the latest of which came Friday night when he won the Esurance MLB Award for Best Rookie over Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers and Andrew Benintendi of the Red Sox.
• Esurance MLB Awards: Complete coverage | Complete 2017 Awards coverage
:: 2017 MLB Awards winners coverage ::
"I'd just like to thank Esurance and MLB for the Award," Judge said. "I wouldn't be here without the Yankees' organization and all the wonderful fans out there, so thank you to you guys for everything in this first year."
MLB Awards count both regular-season and postseason performance, and Judge was a force during both. He hammered an American League-leading 52 home runs, which broke Mark McGwire's three-decades-old record for most homers by a rookie. Combine Judge's slash line of .284/.422/.627 while pacing the AL in runs (128), walks (127) and ranking second in RBIs (114), on-base percentage (.422) and slugging percentage (.627), and it's easy to see why Judge stockpiled on awards since the end of the season.
Judge also unanimously captured the AL's Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award, as voted on by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. It was a no-brainer considering he led all AL rookies in games played (155), homers, RBIs, OPS (1.049) and Wins Above Replacement (8.2) -- to name a few categories. Judge, who won an AL Silver Slugger Award, also finished second in AL MVP voting behind Jose Altuve and was named an AL Gold Glove finalist in right field.
"Aaron Judge," MLB.com columnist Anthony Castrovince said. "Go home. Nothing more to see here."
And Judge accomplished all of this despite not even being guaranteed a job out of Spring Training. He only made the Major League club after beating out Aaron Hicks for the starting job in the spring, then making certain to never let it go.
"My vote for best rookie went to Aaron Judge, who should be commended for putting up such eye-popping numbers during a rookie campaign that requires dozens of adjustments throughout the season," MLB.com national correspondent Alyson Footer said. "Judge had some rough patches, but when he was on top of his game, pitchers couldn't figure out how to get him out. He wore the burden of the Yankees' record pretty much depending on his performance and embraced that role. To keep your head together under that kind of microscope -- in the media capital of the world -- isn't easy."
The Esurance MLB Awards annually honor MLB's greatest achievements as part of an industry-wide balloting process that includes five groups, each of which accounts for 20 percent of the overall vote: media, front-office personnel, retired MLB players, fans at MLB.com and Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) members.
The MLB Awards are an all-inclusive program, encompassing the top players and performances from both the AL and NL from Opening Day through the end of the postseason.
Voting led off with seven categories (Personality of the Year; Best Defensive Player; Best Play, Offense; Best Play, Defense; Best Performance; Best Fan Catch; Best Player-Fan Interaction) on Sept. 18 at mlb.com/awards, serving as the grand entrance of a program that unveiled the Best Call, TV/Radio; Best Major Leaguer, Postseason; and Best Postseason Moment categories following the Fall Classic's final out.
The ninth inning of voting began around BBWAA Awards week, giving fans the opportunity to help determine the Best Major Leaguer, Pitcher, Rookie, Manager and Executive. Winners were announced on MLB Network and MLB.com on Friday night.
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.