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Miguel Andujar Enjoyed One of History’s Best Rookie Seasons

Following a successful career as a journalist, graphic designer, and marketer, Gary Kauffman is now a freelance writer.

In another month or so we’ll learn who baseball writers have decided will be the Rookies of the Year. The American League especially offers two intriguing choices – Shohei Ohtani of the Angels and Miguel Andjuar of the Yankees (Gleyber Torres of the Yankees will also garner a few votes but despite a good rookie campaign is clearly behind the other two).

Ohtani certainly pulled off an impressive feat in both pitching (3.31 ERA, 63 strikeouts in 51.2 innings pitched) and hitting as a DH (.285/.361/.564, with 22 homers in 367 plate appearances). It’s hard to argue with that kind of success.

Andujar Among AL's Best in 2018

Except that Andujar was even better. Amazingly, a year after Aaron Judge had arguably the greatest rookie season ever, Andujar posted a rookie season that ranks at least in the top 25 all-time, and possibly higher when ranking just position players.

But he didn’t just have a great rookie season—Andujar was among the best of all players in the Major Leagues in 2018. Here are his numbers for the year.

Miguel Andujar 2018

GPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB

149

606

573

83

170

47

2

27

92

2

1

25

97

.297

.328

.527

.855

302

Tied All-Time AL Rookie Doubles Record

But let’s take a closer look at just how astounding they were. We’ll start with doubles.

Andujar’s 47 two-baggers broke the Yankees’ rookie record of 44, set in 1936 by a guy you might have heard of named Joe DiMaggio. But his 47 is also the second-most ever (one of five ever to reach that total)—only Johnny Frederick, with 52 for Brooklyn in 1929 had more. His 47 tied the American League record, set by Fred Lynn in 1975.

All-Time Rookie Doubles Leaders

PlayerTeamYear2B

Johnny Frederick

Bro

1929

52

Miguel Andujar

NYY

2018

47

Ryan Zimmerman

Was

2006

47

Albert Pujols

StL

2001

47

Fred Lynn

Bos

1975

47

Vada Pinson

Cin

1959

47

Hanley Ramirez

Fla

2006

46

Hal Trosky

Cle

1934

45

Roy Johnson

Det

1929

45

Joe Jackson

Chi

1911

45

Brad Fullmer

Mon

1998

44

Nomar Garciaparra

Bos

1997

44

Ted Williams

Bos

1939

44

Joe DiMaggio

NYY

1936

44

Bob Johnson

PhiA

1933

44

Elite Company in Extra Base Hits

In addition to all those doubles, he also hit 27 homers and two triples, giving him 76 extra base hits—one of only 14 rookies in history with that many and only three fewer than Judge had last year. Andujar, Judge, Albert Pujols, Nomar Garciaparra and Mark McGwire are the only rookies to have more than 75 extra base hits in the past 54 years!

All-Time Rookie Extra Base Hit Leaders

PlayerTeamYearXBH

Hal Trosky

Cle

1934

89

Albert Pujols

StL

2001

88

Joe DiMaggio

NYY

1936

88

Ted Williams

BosA

1939

86

Nomar Garciaparra

BosA

1997

85

Tony Oliva

Min

1964

84

Dale Alexander

Det

1929

83

Johnny Frederick

Bro

1929

82

Mark McGwire

Oak

1987

81

Dick Allen

PhiN

1964

80

Aaron Judge

NYY

2017

79

Wally Berger

BosN

1930

79

Miguel Andujar

NYY

2018

76

Vada Pinson

Cin

1959

76

Fred Lynn

BosA

1975

75

Among The Best in Other Stats

Curious about how many other rookies had at least 45 doubles and 25 homers? Only three—Andujar, Pujols (47-37) in 2001 and Hal Trosky (45-35) in 1934.

Andujar also recorded 302 total bases, one of only 34 rookies ever to top 300, and only the ninth rookie in the past 20 years to do so.

He drove in 92 runs, which makes him one of 82 rookies to do so. That may not seem high, but when you consider how many rookies have played in the past 118 years, it’s still impressive.

So when you put Andujar’s name in the mix with people like DiMaggio, Judge, Pujols and McGwire, it’s easy to see that he didn’t just have a good rookie season, he had a great—one of the greatest—rookie seasons.

One of the Best in 2018

Sometimes rookies look good when compared to other rookies. But what do they look like compared to the entire league? Again, Andujar ranks among the top players in the Major Leagues in 2018.

Let’s start with doubles again. His 47 was tied with Mookie Betts for third best in the Majors, behind Alex Bregman’s 51 and Eduardo Escobar’s 48. That’s three more than National League leaders Freddie Freeman and Anthony Rendon hit.

2018 Doubles Leaders

PlayerTeam2B

Alex Bregman

Hou

51

Eduardo Escobar

Min/Ari

48

Miguel Andujar

NYY

47

Mookie Betts

Bos

47

Nick Castellanos

Det

46

Xander Bogaerts

Bos

45

Freddie Freeman

Atl

44

Anthony Rendon

Was

44

Extra Base Hitter

Andujar was one of 38 players to hit at least 27 homers (interestingly, he was one of four Yankees with 27 homers—Judge, Aaron Hicks and Didi Gregorius were the others). He was one of three AL players who played primarily third base to reach that total.

Andujar was one of only a dozen players with 76 or more extra-base hits during the season. He had only two fewer than Nolan Arenado and one more than Manny Machado (who played 13 more games). He ranked seventh in the American League.

2018 Extra Base Hit Leaders

PlayerTeamXBH

Trevor Story

Col

85

Mookie Betts

Bos

84

Javier Baez

ChiN

83

Alex Bregman

Hou

83

J.D. Martinez

Bos

82

Francisco Lindor

Cle

82

Jose Ramirez

Cle

81

Matt Carpenter

StL

78

Nolan Arenado

Col

78

Christian Yelich

Mil

77

Khris Davis

Oak

77

Miguel Andujar

NYY

76

Manny Machado

Bal/LA

75

Top 10 in AL

Andujar’s 302 total bases also ranked high. Only 17 players last season had 302 or more total bases. He ranked ninth in the American League. Andujar had six more total bases than Mike Trout, even though Trout had two more plate appearances.

His .297 batting average (he flirted with .300 most of the season) put him in the top 21 in the Majors—identical to both Arenado and Machado. It was the 10th-best in the AL.

His .527 slugging percentage ranked 15th-best in the Majors and seventh in the AL. Because he didn’t walk much (only 25 times), his OPS (on-base plus slugging) was only .855, which was still 26th in the Majors and 11th in the AL.

His 92 RBIs put him into a tie for 11th-place in the AL, tied with Francisco Lindor and Joey Gallo. He had 170 hits, in the top 22 in the Majors and tied for eighth in the AL.

Good Contact Hitter

Considering his rookie status and his reputation as a free swinger, Andujar might be considered a candidate for a strikeout leader. Surprisingly, though, he fanned only 97 times in 606 plate appearances.

Only 25 players with 550 or more PA struck out less than 100 times; only 15 with 600 or more PA stayed in double digits in strikeouts. Only nine AL players had less than 100 K’s in 600 or more PA (led by Andrelton Simmons, with only 44 strikeouts in 600 plate appearances).

2018 Fewest K's in 600+ Plate Appearances

PlayerTeamSOPA

Andrelton Simmons

LAA

44

600

Michael Brantley

Cle

60

631

Jean Segura

Sea

69

632

Jose Peraza

Cin

75

683

Nick Markakis

Atl

80

705

Anthony Rizzo

ChiN

80

665

Jose Ramirez

Cle

80

698

Alex Bregman

Hou

85

705

Ender Inciarte

Atl

86

660

Mookie Betts

Bos

91

614

Adam Jones

Bal

93

613

Carlos Santana

Phi

93

679

Lorenzo Cain

Mil

94

620

Max Kepler

Min

96

611

Miguel Andjuar

NYY

97

606

Andujar was Yankees' MVP

So in Miguel Andujar, we have a player who not only ranked among the best rookies ever in several major offensive categories, we have a player who ranked in the top 20 in 2018 in a number of major offensive categories, and in the top 10 in the American League.

It’s safe to say that he was the MVP of the Yankees. When Judge went on the DL for 47 games with a broken wrist, Andujar was there to pick up the slack. In those 47 games, he hit 12 homers, 10 doubles and drove in 42 runs, with a .304 batting average. That pace over a whole season would end with 42 homers and 145 RBIs. Largely because of his contributions, the Yankees were able to keep hold of the AL Wild Card home-field advantage.

About the only negative in Andujar’s season was his defense—at times he looked very much like a rookie getting adjusted to playing third in the Majors. But he improved steadily as the season went on and has earned praise from one of his tutors, Alex Rodriguez. Remember, though, that Mike Schmidt was not much of a fielder his rookie season but developed into an above-average third baseman.