Do The Yankees Have Top 2 Favorites For AL Comeback Player of The Year Award?

It appears that the Yankees' roster currently has two front-runners for the AL Comeback Player of the Year Award.
May 8, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Carlos Rodon (55) pitches against the Houston Astros during the third inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
May 8, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Carlos Rodon (55) pitches against the Houston Astros during the third inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees appear to have not one, but two American League Comeback Player of the Year Award candidates; and this duo could be the leading front-runners to capture the honor.

This pair would be left-handed starting pitcher Carlos Rodon and designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton. Both players are a big reason why the Yankees have jumped out to the best record in baseball at 49-21 through their first 70 games of the season.

Coming off an abysmal and injury riddled first season with the Yankees, Rodon has stepped up in the starting rotation without reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Gerrit Cole, who has been sidelined due to an elbow injury.

In 14 starts, Rodon has a record of 9-2 to go along with a 2.93 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 74 strikeouts in 80 innings. This is a major bounce-back for the lefty, who signed a massive six-year, $162 million deal with the Yankees prior to the 2023 season before going 3-8 with a 6.85 ERA in just 64.1 innings last year. Rodon has already matched his start total from a season ago and we are only through the first 70 games of the 2024 campaign.

As for Stanton, he looks rejuvenated after dealing with a hamstring issue that limited him to 101 games last season. Although he still hit 24 home runs, the slugger slashed an abysmal .191/.275/.420 with a .695 OPS. At 34-years-old, and a long track record of injury issues, Stanton was a major question mark for the Yankees coming into the year. But he has eliminated these concerns by crushing 17 homers and posting a .759 OPS in 61 games as the Yankee DH.

Stanton, Aaron Judge and Juan Soto have combined for 59 homers through the first 70 games of the season. The power-hitting DH is back to being one of the main big boppers in a lethal Yankee lineup. For that, as well as some debate as to whether his better days were behind him or not, Stanton probably would edge Rodon out for the AL Comeback Player of the Year Award as long as he can stay healthy the rest of the way and continue this type of production.

Beyond Rodon and Stanton, some other possible candidates to win the award in the AL are Minnesota Twins' Carlos Correa, Toronto Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Boston Red Sox's Tyler O'Neill. But at this point, Correa is the only one having a year that is close to what Rodon and Stanton have been able to do with the Yankees.

Time will tell regarding whether this Yankee duo can keep it up. But their play in the first four months of the 2024 campaign have been quite impressive.


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Pat Ragazzo

PAT RAGAZZO

Pat Ragazzo is the reporter, publisher, site manager and executive editor for the Mets and Yankees websites on Sports Illustrated. Pat was selected as The Top Reporter & Publisher of the Year 2024 by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP) for outstanding leadership, dedication, and commitment to the industry. He appears on several major TV Network stations including: NBC4, CBS2, FOX5, PIX11, SNY and NY1; and is frequently heard on ESPN New York FM 98.7 FM and WFAN Sports Radio 101.9 FM as a guest. Pat also serves as the Mets insider for the "Allow Me 2 Be Frank" podcast hosted by Frank "The Tank" Fleming of Barstool Sports. You can follow him on Twitter/X: @ragazzoreport.