MLB Awards: 2017 American League MVP Ballot

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 05: Jose Altuve (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 05: Jose Altuve (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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3. Aaron Judge: New York Yankees

Over the course of American League history, only Fred Lynn and Ichiro Suzuki have won the Rookie of the Year and MVP awards in the same season. Aaron Judge could join that list this season.

Judge had been a top prospect in the Yankees system, his propensity for hitting home runs making fans anticipate his debut. However, in his first taste of the majors in 2016, Judge struggled. Although he did show his power, hitting four home runs, Judge also struck out 42 times in 94 plate appearances. Was he a real prospect, or just another power hitter without any ability to make consistent contact?

It may be just one season, but Judge certainly showed that he could be a star. He rapidly became a fan favorite in the Bronx, posting a .284/.422/.627 batting line and setting a MLB rookie record with 52 homers. Judge led the league with 128 runs and 127 walks, as well as his astounding 208 strikeouts. He was a Three True Outcome player to the extreme, and perhaps, the best case scenario for such a player.

Judge was a major part of the Yankees offense this season. Led by their young star, New York was able to overcome its somewhat shaky pitching in order to make the postseason. If Judge can cut down on his strikeouts, and continue his hard contact, he could be a cornerstone for the Yankees for years to come. But that is really the question – will those strikeouts become a problem?

That is a question for another year. In 2017, Aaron Judge was one of the more valuable players in the league.