Every year has its class of top rookies. This year, however, the class went above and beyond.
The 2017 rookie class shattered records from coast to coast across both leagues, and many of the most hallowed rookie records no longer stand.
Aaron Judge‘s 52 home runs broke Mark McGwire’s previous rookie record of 49. Judge’s 127 walks broke the modern record held by Ted Williams. Cody Bellinger hit 39 home runs, a new National League rookie record. Rhys Hoskins became the fastest player ever to hit 10 home runs (and 11, and 17, and 18, for that matter). Matt Olson became the first rookie ever with 15 homers in a 21-game span.
The accomplishments of the 2017 rookie class went beyond just power. Andrew Benintendi became the first rookie with a 20-home run, 20-steal season since Mike Trout. Paul DeJong posted the third-best OPS among shortstops, better than Corey Seager and Francisco Lindor. Manny Pina, Matt Chapman and Manuel Margot provided elite defense that ranked them among the Gold Glove award winners. And on the pitching side, playoff teams like the Rockies and Yankees benefitted greatly from the contributions of rookies on their staff.
It was such a deep year for rookies that many worthy candidates got squeezed off of the All-Rookie team. With the depth of first basemen and corner outfielders (Bellinger, Hoskins, Benintendi and Judge), Olson, Trey Mancini, Mitch Haniger and Yulieski Gurriel missed the cut despite excellent seasons. Promising starters like Antonio Senzatela, Dinelson Lamet, Jacob Faria, Sean Newcomb, Adalberto Mejia and Parker Bridwell also showed why they were so highly considered, but ultimately fell short of pitchers who had more complete seasons.
The rookie class of 2017 was record-breaking at the top, deep through the bottom and filled with top prospects showing flashes of their excellence. As time wears on, it will be no surprise if this rookie class stands the test of time as one of the best.