Last season was a historic year for rookies. Aaron Judge set the Major League record for home runs in a season with 52 and finished 2nd in American League MVP voting. Cody Bellinger belted 39 home runs and helped anchor a Dodger offense that played in the final game of the year. After the bar was set so high in 2017 from several outstanding rookie seasons, the rookies in 2018 have their work cut out for them. Nearly halfway through the 2018 MLB season, the following are some of the rookies around the league making an impact at the plate and on the mound.
Brian Anderson, Miami Marlins (25 years old)
Drafted by the Marlins in 2014 in the 3rd round out of the University of Oklahoma, 25 year old Brian Anderson is making his most of his opportunity in Miami. The Marlins roster is extremely thin which certainly helped pave Anderson’s way to the show, however he is taking advantage of his time in the Big Leagues and proving that he belongs. He has yet to hit for power, but has shown a professional approach and been one of the few bright spots this year for a lackluster Miami Marlins team.
Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees (21 years old)
The apparent newest addition to the ‘Baby Bombers’ is 21 year old Gleyber Torres. With 11 home runs through 43 games, Gleyber is offering some surprising pop at the bottom of the lineup. Not known for his power in the minor leagues, Gleyber has found his power stroke and is contributing to the New York Yankees Major League lead in home runs. Torres seems to be unfazed by the pressure and bright lights in New York. Make sure to keep an eye out for this rookie throughout the season and most likely, deep into the postseason.
Miguel Andujar, New York Yankees (23 years old)
Another one of New York’s emerging talents is the 23 year old third baseman, Miguel Andujar. With so many big names on the Yankees’ roster, it is easy to be forgotten. Andujar has brought his talents from the Dominican Republic to the most storied franchise in baseball history. He has cemented himself over at third base as the Yankees everyday third baseman and shows no signs of going anywhere. Third base was a concern for the Yankees at the beginning of the year; Andujar has certainly helped ease those worries.
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels (23 years old)
One of the biggest stories of the 2018 MLB season has been the success of Japanese Phenom Shohei Ohtani. His ability to perform at a high level at both the plate and on the mound is beyond impressive to say the least. While it is extremely difficult for many to succeed in the big leagues at just one aspect of the game, Ohtani is doing it all at 23 years old. A UCL injury has cut the budding superstar’s season short and likely removed him from all of the 2019 season as well.
Dan Winkler, Atlanta Braves (28 years old)
Drafted in 2011, Dan Winkler is one of the older rookies in the league. At 28 years old, Winkler is putting up All-Star caliber numbers. Winker relies heavily on his cutter to stifle hitters. Taken in the 20th round out of the University of Central Florida by the Rockies and later picked up by the Braves in the Rule 5 draft, Dan Winkler is proving to be a very valuable piece to a surprisingly strong Braves club.
Walker Buehler, Los Angeles Dodgers (23 years old)
Unlike Winkler, Walker Buehler was drafted in the 1st round with much higher expectations. Thus far in his career, he is off to a great start. At only 23 years old, he is looking like a future frontline starter. Buehler’s fastball is averaging around 96 miles per hour which he relies on heavily. Look for Walker Buehler to join the likes of David Price and Sonny Gray as yet another high-quality Vanderbilt arm.
Jordan Hicks, St. Louis Cardinals (21 years old)
St. Louis Cardinal Rookie Jordan Hicks made some noise this season by throwing the 5 fastest pitches of the year, the hardest of these pitches being 105.1 miles per hour. While Hicks needs to sure up his command, his elite stuff is undeniable. At only 21 years old, expect Hicks to be one of the premier bullpen arms in the Big Leagues for years to come.
The competition in the major leagues is at an all-time high and the level of talent, especially young talent, seems to be constantly improving. The Major League Baseball season is long. Keep following these rookies throughout the season and beyond to see how they develop and progress through their careers.
Let us know in the comments which rookies you think will win the AL and NL Rookie of the Year Award!