Miguel Andujar Enjoyed One of History’s Best Rookie Seasons

Updated on October 4, 2018

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

G
PA
AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
SB
CS
BB
SO
BA
OBP
SLG
OPS
TB
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

Player
Team
Year
2B
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

Player
Team
Year
XBH
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

Player
Team
2B
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

Player
Team
XBH
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

Player
Team
SO
PA
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 the 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.

Andujar Should be Rookie of the Year

I’m sure Ohtani will garner a number of first-place votes for the Rookie of the Year honor. And he is certainly deserving of praise. But I think that if the voters look at the numbers, especially in historical context and in the broader context of the 2018 season, Andujar should be the clear winner.

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