Let’s face it, the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is nowhere near as passionate and exciting as it once was.
A large reason for this is the two teams have not been good at the same time in a while. The last time they both had at least 90 wins was 2011, and the last time they both made the playoffs was 2009. The two teams haven’t consistently been neck-and-neck for the division title since the early 2000’s, and the rivalry has suffered.
The one thing both teams have done recently is stockpile young talent.
Andrew Benintendi of the Red Sox and Aaron Judge of the Yankees are the top two favorites for this year’s American League Rookie of the Year award, and a close race for the award down the stretch just might be enough to spark a flame that has been left un-ignited for the last decade.
Benintendi has the edge to start the season. He hit .295/.359/.476 in 34 games last season and was the number five prospect on MLB.com’s top 100 list. He’s been pegged by many to be the Rookie of the Year favorite, and has started 2017 by hitting .299/.377/.403 through 17 games.
Judge, on the other hand, is considered the underdog by most in this race.
He was ranked as MLB.com’s number 22 overall prospect in the aforementioned top 100 list last year. Obviously, being 22nd on that list is still very high, but the point is Benintendi was the prospect considered to have the higher ceiling. Judge struggled in his short time in the majors last year, hitting .179/.263/.345 with four home runs and 10 RBI in 27 games, which also gave reason to make Benintendi the favorite. This year has been a different story for Judge so far, as he’s hit .281/.349/.667 with six home runs and 13 RBI in just 16 games.
Judge’s emergence early this season has made him into a more viable candidate for Rookie of the Year than he once was, and if he can have sustained success, he might beat out Andrew Benintendi for the award. Hopefully, these two budding stars can keep up their hot starts and stay healthy so that we can see the possibility of this exciting race become a reality.