Major League Baseball's regular season featured some surprisingly strong play from first-year players, particularly in the American League. With awards season now right around the corner, it's time to project which AL rookie will reign supreme when it's time to hand out the hardware.
1. Gleyber Torres
Gleyber Torres was expected to make an impact as a rookie, and did not disappoint. In 123 games this season, the infielder hit .271 with 24 home runs and 77 RBI and posted an OPS of .820. In a loaded Yankee lineup, he was at his best with runners in scoring position, producing a .308 batting average and a .957 OPS. He's been nothing short of outstanding, and proof-positive that Pinstripe pride is about far more than big-money free agents.
2. Miguel Andujar
There's something about those Baby Bombers! Miguel Andujar was even more impressive as his rookie teammate this season, sporting a .296 batting average to go along with 27 home runs and a healthy .853 OPS. He also tied Fred Lynn's American League rookie record for doubles with 47. Both he and Torres have strong cases to win the award, but expect them to split the vote just enough to be ultimately denied the hardware.
3. Shohei Ohtani
Has there been an MLB player since Babe Ruth that made such waves as a regular at the plate and on the mound? Shohei Ohtani is that guy now, and he was a one-man spectacle in 2018. Yes, he spent time on the DL in July and needs Tommy John surgery before he can resume pitching, but his numbers were massively impressive in his first season stateside. 22 home runs in 237 fewer plate appearances than it took Andujar to reach 27? You bet. His OPS of .930 is insane, and he averaged nearly 11 strikeouts per nine innings from the mound. Simply sensational.