Miguel Andujar has won his consolation prize — and the Yankees want Shohei Ohtani to know it.
After losing the American League Rookie of the Year award to the Angels’ two-way phenom, Andujar was voted by his fellow major leaguers as AL Outstanding Rookie on Tuesday.
The Yankees wished congratulations to their third baseman on Twitter Wednesday while throwing a jab at Ohtani.
“His peers knew,” the team posted. “Congrats to the Players Choice for 2018 AL Outstanding Rookie, and our ROY, @MAndujarPapa.”
– New York Yankees (@Yankees) November 28, 2018
The 23-year-old Andujar had a superb season in the Bronx, hitting 27 home runs with 92 RBI and 47 doubles with a slashline of .297/.238/.527.
His 47 doubles were third-most in the majors and set a record among Yankee rookies. He led all rookies in that category along with hits (170), extra-base hits (76) and multi-hit games (53). His 27 homers were also tied for the rookie lead.
Andujar’s success at the plate still wasn’t enough for him to win Rookie of the Year earlier this month. The honor instead went to Ohtani, who also defeated Yankees infielder Gleyber Torres with 25 of 30 first-place votes (Andujar had the remaining five).
The 24-year-old Ohtani came to the majors from Japan to become the first true two-player MLB since Babe Ruth, and he didn’t disappoint. Ohtani had 22 homers and 61 RBI with a slashline of .285/.361/.564. In 10 starts on the mound, he went 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA (3.57 FIP) and an 11 K/9 ratio. He did, however, miss a large chunk of the season due to a UCL tear in his right elbow, which limited his pitching and resulted in him undergoing Tommy John surgery at the end of the season.
Andujar said his Players’ Choice award gives him something a Rookie of the Year nod can’t.
“There is no greater honor than being recognized by my colleagues because they understand the rigors and challenges, the highs and lows of a season,” he said in a video tweeted out by the MLB Players’ Association. “This is a league of adjustments. You need to adjust constantly because the league is adjusting to you. That requires a lot of focus but also humility. This award gives me great satisfaction because I feel like I have earned their respect.”
Leading AL rookies in almost every offensive category, his first season in the league was memorable. An extra-base hit machine for the @Yankees, he hit .297 BA | 27 HR | 92 RBI #PlayersChoiceAwards2018
– #MLBPA (@MLB_PLAYERS) November 28, 2018
Andujar’s fielding at the hot corner continued to be his primary weakness through the Yankees’ postseason. That, according to SNY contributor John Harper, may be a reason the team could use him as a trade chip this winter in its pursuit of a second top starting pitcher after the acquisition of James Paxton from the Mariners.
But for now, Andujar can enjoy the recognition from his peers — even if it’s not the award he had his eyes on.