Despite knocking on the door of 100 wins and having a generally successful season, the 2018 New York Yankees don’t really have any candidates for many major awards. Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar are dueling with Shohei Ohtani for AL Rookie of the Year, but that’s it. For whatever reason, no Yankees have strong chances of winning any other awards, like MVP, Cy Young, or Comeback Player of the Year.
In that respect, let’s take a look at the major MLB awards and dole them out on a team basis. Who is the 2018 Yankees’ MVP? Cy Young? Platinum Glover? Let’s find out.
MVP: Didi Gregorius
The MVP Award goes to the player who is most valuable to his team. Every day of the week and twice on Sundays, the most valuable Yankee is Aaron Judge. However, Judge missed almost two months of the season due to a freak wrist injury. For better or for worse, injured players don’t often win major awards in pro sports. Judge was having an MVP season before his injury, but his tough-luck DL stint takes him out of the running for me.
After that, the Yankees have a very unique case. When Judge was injured, no one player really put the team on his back; they got contributions from everyone. There’s Giancarlo Stanton, who leads the team in most offensive categories but is only 6th on the team in WAR. Then there’s Aaron Hicks, one of the team’s most well-rounded players who has solidified his status as a top-10 MLB center fielder. Heck, even Luis Severino has a real case for team MVP as the ace of the staff.
However, the MVP award is very much an interpretational award. How does one judge “most valuable?” For me, it’s Didi Gregorius. Everything that Didi does helps the Yankees win. His numbers have improved every year as a Yankee, he is one of the most reliable defensive Yankees on a team that has had questionable fielding at times, he’s a valued clubhouse leader, and he’s a middle-of-the-order catalyst. While he did miss two weeks with a heel injury, the team struggled in his absence and picked things up when he returned, proving his worth. If you take Gregorius away from the Yankees, they just aren’t the same team. In that essence, he’s the most irreplaceable player on team, Judge aside.
Cy Young: Luis Severino
Yes, Luis Severino did have a notable cold streak down the stretch run, but he has generally been every bit of an ace this year for the Yankees. He leads the team in almost every pitching category, and never missed a start. Severino is likely the guy that the Yankees will trust to pitch twice against the Boston Red Sox in a five-game series.
Masahiro Tanaka had a great second half, but an average first half and missed a month with injury. J.A. Happ has been masterful as a Yankee, but he’s also only going to finish with 11 starts as a member of the team. CC Sabathia was also a dependable mid-rotation starter, but we all know who the best pitcher on the team is. Right now, it’s Sevy’s show in the Bronx.
Rookie of the Year: Miguel Andujar
Here’s where things get interesting. The Yankees have two bona fide rookie of the year candidates in Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres, and they even have an actual chance to win the real award. Andujar has an incredible offensive acumen for a rookie and has lit up the league leaderboards. Unfortunately, his defense leaves a lot to be desired, but his status as the Yankees’ second-best hitter helps his case a lot.
Torres, on the other hand, slipped a little bit after a July hip injury. He burst onto the scene in the first two months and is more flashy than Andujar on both offense and defense, but he has been less consistent than Andujar. Whereas Torres has looked amazing for a few stretches and then like an overmatched rookie for others, Andujar has been remarkably consistent all year, which earns him the Yankees’ 2018 Rookie of the Year award. It remains to be seen if he can beat out Ohtani for the prestigious American League honor.
Platinum Glove: Brett Gardner
In addition to awarding Gold Gloves on a positional basis, the MLB also gives out a “Platinum Glove” to the best overall defender, regardless of position. While he didn’t have the best offensive season, the Yankees’ best defensive player is still Brett Gardner. He has saved 11 defensive runs, which is the 16th-best total in the whole league. His outfield range and instincts remain impeccable even at age 35, and while his arm isn’t the strongest in the world, Gardner’s throws are usually right on the money.
Other contenders for this award include Aaron Hicks, Didi Gregorius and Aaron Judge, but Gardner gets the nod for one simple reason. If there’s one guy on the team that you want the ball hit to in the most crucial situation of a game, it’s still Brett Gardner.
Silver Slugger: Miguel Andujar
The best hitter on the Yankees this year has been Andujar, hands down. Stanton, Judge and Gregorius have all been great, but Andujar has shown an incredible offensive prowess at a young age and will be a middle-of-the-order masher for years to come. Stanton may have more power, but Andujar leads the team in hits, extra-base-hits and is second to Judge in SLG and OPS. Quite simply, Andujar’s a veteran hitter at just 23 years of age. His bat speed is second to none, and while his batter’s eye could use some work, Andujar has been impressive enough to earn the Yankees’ Silver Slugger award.
Which Yankees do you think deserve awards? Sound off in the comments.