MLB: The 2017 All Rookie Team – Hitters

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 09: Aaron Judge
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 09: Aaron Judge /
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Outfielder 1: Cody Bellinger

Adrian Gonzalez who?

The revered first baseman injured himself early in the year, allowing the Dodgers to promote their most valuable prospect in Bellinger earlier than expected. Not only did he become a valuable first baseman for the National League’s best team.

He became a star.

Without reaching 500 at-bats in his first campaign, the southpaw slugger led Los Angeles in home runs, RBIs and slugging percentage. The only Dodger with a higher OPS and OWAR was Justin Turner, who shelled opposing pitchers and compiled more walks than strikeouts.

Overall, the phenom finished 13th in the league in OPS, eighth in slugging percentage and in the top 30 in WAR. Aaron Judge was the only rookie that finished ranked higher in those categories.

Maybe the most valuable thing about Bellinger is his versatility, as he can play in the outfield or at first base. With the arrival of Chris Taylor, Bellinger was slotted mostly in the corner of the infield, but he still tallied some games in the outfield.

However, it’s clear Bellinger’s presence is mostly known at the plate, rather than in the field, although he did boast a shiny .993 fielding percentage this season as well. Only Yasiel Puig and Yasmani Grandal were the only everyday players with a better percentage.

Clayton Kershaw is the face of the franchise. But Bellinger is the face of the future in Los Angeles.

Outfielder 2: Aaron Judge

If the Yankees based Judge’s potential on his numbers from 2016, the slugging right fielder might not have made the Opening Day roster. New York fans everywhere thank the organization for giving him another chance.

Not only did the 25-year-old post one of the most historic seasons in Yankees history. It may be one of the best regular seasons throughout the past decade, despite Judge’s struggles in the middle of the season.

His OPS of 1.049 is the highest of any Yankees player with more than 400 at-bats since Alex Rodriguez in 2007. And everyone knows how prestigious of a career Rodriguez had, despite the steroid phenomenon.

Opposing pitchers almost found the right-hander’s kryptonite toward the middle of the season. After claiming the Home Run Derby title, Judge was mired in a slump for nearly two months.

He hit .206 with 80 strikeouts across July and August. He also broke the record for recording a strikeout in 37 consecutive games. That rough stretch helped Judge become the leader in strikeouts with 208.

Still, after a pithy showing last September, Judge’s dominant season means the future of the New York club is promising.

Outfielder 3: Andrew Benintendi

Every season, a new Red Sox rookie seems to garner much attention based on their minor league numbers and overall potential.

Prior to the promotion of Rafael Devers, Benintendi had all eyes on him. And he didn’t disappoint.

The outfielder was inconsistent across the entire year, posting a horrid average one month, then roping everything the following month. Overall, he owned a .271 average with a sturdy .352 on-base percentage.

He showcased his pop at the plate as well, cracking the 20-homer mark and producing 90 RBIs. The young gun was arguably the team’s second-best hitter behind fellow phenom Mookie Betts. And Boston was a top-tier offense, finishing the season ranked fourth in runs scored.

Benintendi possesses similar qualities to Betts, and will likely continue to improve throughout the next few seasons.

With the pair of outfielders, there’s no reason why the Red Sox can’t boast the best outfield crew in the league next season.