Which promising rookie has the brighter MLB future – Boston Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi or New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge?
Many of us were under the impression entering the season that Boston Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi would be the front-runner in the Rookie of the Year race. The former No. 7 overall pick had the pedigree and the tools that would soon make him a star.
It’s not that Benintendi has been a disappointment. Perhaps he hasn’t quite lived up to the massive hype that he carried with him into this year. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t been solid by the standards of a 22-year old navigating his first full season in the big leagues. It’s certainly no stretch to consider him as the second best rookie from his class.
Benintendi falling short for the honor of being named the league’s top rookie would be no knock against him. It’s simply that New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge has been better – and so far it’s not even close.
Judge is not only trampling the ROY competition, he’s making a solid case for MVP consideration. The 25-year old leads the league in home runs, while his 1.096 OPS and 3.3 WAR trail only the injured Mike Trout. The reigning MVP’s lengthy absence opens the race to a bevy of challengers, with Judge standing tall over the other contenders thus far.
While Judge didn’t skyrocket through the minor league system as quickly as Benintendi did, he’s still a former first-round pick in his own right. We knew he was a talented player, yet few expected him to be this good this soon.
Boston’s left fielder has his work cut out for him to reach the level that Judge has risen to. There’s no doubt that he also has superstar potential, it’s a matter of if the younger Benintendi will reach that ceiling over time. Which of these rookies has the brighter future in the long run?