NEW YORK -- Miguel Andujar grabbed hold of an early-season opportunity and never looked back, establishing a reputation as one of the Yankees' most reliable performers while becoming the first third baseman in Major League history to tally at least 40 doubles and 25 homers in his rookie season.While Andujar
NEW YORK -- Miguel Andujar grabbed hold of an early-season opportunity and never looked back, establishing a reputation as one of the Yankees' most reliable performers while becoming the first third baseman in Major League history to tally at least 40 doubles and 25 homers in his rookie season.
While Andujar and fellow infielder Gleyber Torres enjoyed memorable debut campaigns in 2018, they were ultimately overshadowed by the Angels' two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani, who was honored on Monday as the American League's Rookie of the Year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA). Ohtani received 25 of 30 first-place votes.
:: AL Rookie of the Year voting totals ::
Even though the pair of "Baby Bombers" finished short in their respective bids to bring home hardware, manager Aaron Boone said that Andujar and Torres were key in helping the team achieve its highest win total since its World Series championship season of 2009.
"I think there are similarities, because they were so impactful," Boone said. "When you look back on us winning 100 games, you don't do that without some amazing performances. It's hard to find two guys that were more impactful, more consistent for us."
Andujar received five first-place votes, 20 second-place votes and four third-place votes. The 23-year-old was an extra-base-hit machine, raking 47 doubles to shatter Joe DiMaggio's single-season franchise record for rookies (44, in 1936) and equaling Boston's Fred Lynn ('75) for the most ever by an AL rookie.
"Having my name alongside players like Joe DiMaggio, it's incredible, something you never dream of," Andujar said through an interpreter. "I'm very happy to have my name next to those great, great MLB players."
Batting .297 with 27 homers and 92 RBIs across 149 games, Andujar led all rookies in hits (170), doubles, RBIs, extra-base hits (76) and multihit games, tying for first in homers and ranking second in runs (83) and batting average. Replacing the injured Brandon Drury at third base, Andujar earned AL Rookie of the Month selections in June and August.
"Andujar came in, just took the job and ran with it," Boone said. "Miguel Andujar, start to finish, was just a hitting machine. A lot of people questioned whether he was ready to play defensively at third. He handled himself capably and I think made strides, and I think showed a lot of people that he is going to be able to play the position on a long-term basis."
Torres received three second-place votes and 16 third-place votes. The 21-year-old earned selection as an AL All-Star in 2018, batting .271 with 24 home runs and 77 RBIs in 123 games.
Widely celebrated as one of the league's most promising prospects, Torres returned from Tommy John surgery on his left (non-throwing) elbow to rank second among all rookies in RBIs and fourth in home runs, including seven three-run blasts.
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"First of all, I feel proud for being part of the team," Torres said. "It's my first year, and every day playing with all my teammates, it was pretty fun. I learned every day, I enjoyed every moment. I think for me, this year was really good to gain a lot of experience, and I'll take all that experience for next year. I enjoyed every moment of playing this season, and I will try to prove a little bit more of myself next year, and help my team."
The Yankees went 17-3 in the 20 games that Torres started at second base immediately following his recall, making his debut on April 22 and earning selection as the AL's Rookie of the Month for May. He owns the third-most career homers by a Yankee prior to his 22nd birthday, trailing only Mickey Mantle (57) and DiMaggio (29).
"He comes in right away and is a difference-maker," Boone said. "The offensive production he brought right away, the defense he played in the middle of the diamond, at one point later in the season when Didi Gregorius went down for a few weeks he was able to slide over and be our shortstop. The game comes very easily for Gleyber Torres, on both sides of the ball. There's just an ease that he plays the game with, and he's only going to continue to grow."
With Andujar and Torres following Gary Sanchez (2016) and Aaron Judge ('17), the Yankees have boasted four Rookie of the Year finalists in the last three seasons. Sanchez finished second to the Tigers' Michael Fulmer, while Judge won in a landslide last year, crowned as the Yanks' first Rookie of the Year since Derek Jeter in 1996.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.