What? If pundits and newspaper columnists are allowed to talk about “who won the offseason” and are allowed to draw grand conclusions about this team or that team after one or two games, Joe Posnanski is certainly able to hand out MVP hardware based on the early season performances:
American League Rookie of the Year: Jose Iglesias, Boston
While there was a lot of hype for his teammate Jackie Bradley Jr., who tied for the league lead in walks (3) and was second in runs scored (2), Iglesias quietly hit .600 in helping Boston overcome its troubles the previous two seasons and tie for first in the American League East.
I like the past tense. I also like that, if we’re gonna do this, it makes the Mets and their +13 run differential and undefeated record into the best team in baseball.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: