Going into the 2017 All-Star break, the clear-cut American League Rookie of the Year front-runner was undoubtedly Aaron Judge.
But, will a major drop in the numbers of the New York Yankee’s 6-foot-7 slugger be enough for Andrew Benintendi to swoop in, and cash in on this golden opportunity to claim the award?
To start, let’s talk about how much of good Judge truly was in the first half of the season.
A record was broken and set by him on July 8. That record came via his 30th home run of the season, which surpassed Joe MiMaggio’s mark of 29.
What makes that even more impressive is the fact that all those were hit prior to the Mid-Summer Classic.
In terms of batting average, OBP, Slugging, and OPS, during the first full three months of the season, no one compared to him.
He took his talents down to South Beach for the All-Star week, but he forgot to bring his power with him upon his departure of Miami. Everything went downhill for Judge after the annual season-ruining Home Run Derby. In the tournament, he launched a total of 47 long balls into the crowd. Four of which defied the laws science by going 500 feet.
But, like everything else in life, once you jump, you eventually have to land and come back to the harsh reality on the ground.
In 36 games between the dates of July 8, and Aug. 20, he struck out at least one in every game (37 times), setting yet another record.
This one was previously held by Adam Dunn, who fanned in 32 straight games in 2012.
While in that dreadful slump, Judge saw his numbers drop, even after he escaped it, he was still trending downhill.
During the streak, his batting average was .176, with an on-base percentage of only .335.
Although he posted an MVP worthy first half, the past few months have certainly not been treating him too kindly.
His BA has dipped a substantial 145 points to .182 since the break.
Now, with all this information on Judge, a few questions come to mind.
First can Andrew Benintendi make a legitimate run at this Rookie of the Year award?
Does the dominant first half of Judge have more merit than Benintendi’s constant production all season long?
Benintendi, who was named the AL Rookie of the Month for August, batted .333 with six home runs and 19 runs batted in over 26 games. Meanwhile, Judge hit .185 for the month.
One major incident could have played a major role in the lowering of his batting average and could play a factor in him not being voted for the award was a six-game streak without a hit back in May. In those 32 at-bats, the numbers declined from an incredible .339, all the way to a far lower .280.
Let’s hypothetically say that Judge does win the award, how long do you figure he will be able to actually last while playing competitively at 6-foot-7 and at 282 pounds?
The Red Sox without a doubt have the better chances to strike oil in the long run with Andrew Benintendi, as long as he continues to provide for the club.