Aaron Judge electrified the baseball world with his awe-inspiring power at the plate in 2017, earning numerous accolades -- including the American League Rookie of the Year Award and a second-place finish for the AL MVP Award -- as a result.Judge will now have a chance to secure another honor
Aaron Judge electrified the baseball world with his awe-inspiring power at the plate in 2017, earning numerous accolades -- including the American League Rookie of the Year Award and a second-place finish for the AL MVP Award -- as a result.
Judge will now have a chance to secure another honor after belting an MLB rookie-record 52 homers and helping the Yankees come within a game of the World Series, as he has been nominated for Best Major Leaguer and Best Rookie in the 2017 Esurance MLB Awards.
Meanwhile, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has been nominated for Best Executive in the 2017 Esurance MLB Awards for fostering the youth movement -- Judge and the "Baby Bombers" -- as well as making several moves that strengthened the Yanks throughout the season. Right-hander Luis Severino rounds out the Yankees' nominees as he is up for Best Pitcher.
• Vote for this season's best stars and moments in the Esurance MLB Awards
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 American and National Leagues from Opening Day through the end of the postseason.
Voting led off with seven categories on Sept. 18 at mlb.com/awards, serving as the grand entrance of a program that unveiled nominees for Best Call, TV/Radio; Best Major Leaguer, Postseason; and Best Postseason Moment following the Fall Classic's final out. The ninth inning of voting began around BBWAA Awards week, which opened when the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award winners were unveiled Monday. Voting in the Best Executive, Best Rookie, Best Manager and Best Pitcher categories went live earlier this week, preceding balloting in the Best Major Leaguer category.
MLB Awards season will culminate Friday, when winners are announced live on MLB Network and MLB.com starting at 8 p.m. ET.
No player in MLB hit the ball harder, on average, than Judge in 2017. According to Statcast™, Judge's average exit velocity on batted balls was 94.9 mph. The Yankees' right fielder also hit the longest Statcast-projected home run of the season, a 495-foot shot off the Orioles' Logan Verrett that left the bat with an exit velocity of 118.6 mph on June 11 at Yankee Stadium.
Judge led all MLB rookies in home runs (the Dodgers' Cody Bellinger finished second with 39), on-base percentage (.422) and slugging percentage (.627). He also led all AL players in walks (127) and runs scored (128).
Severino was another Yankees breakout star in his third Major League season. He held a 2.98 ERA with 230 strikeouts and just 51 walks in 193 1/3 innings while earning an All-Star nomination. And after holding opponents to one or no runs in 17 of his 31 stars, Severino was named an AL Cy Young Award nominee.
As for Cashman, his team reached 90 wins for the first time since 2012, and it was mostly thanks to an impressive youth movement that has the Yankees in a great position for 2018.
"I think we have a great young crew and we have more coming," Cashman said in October. "It's up to us to keep them healthy, to put them in a position to perform up to their ceiling, but we have more coming, we feel."
Aaron Judge, selected 32nd overall in the 2013 MLB Draft, won the AL Rookie of the Year Award and is a nominee for AL MVP. Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorius and Severino also took big steps forward as New York's newest stars.
It wasn't just long-term planning that got Cashman nominated for Best Executive, as he also made several midseason deals to acquire Sonny Gray, Tommy Kahnle and Player Page for David Robertson.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.