Despite losing in Game 7 of the ALCS to the Houston Astros on Saturday, Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge is already looking ahead to the 2018 season.
"We are all excited for next year," Judge said, according to the New York Post's George A. King III.
The Yankees entered the 2017 season with low expectations, as most analysts predicted them to miss the playoffs as they were heading into a rebuilding process. Instead, the team fell one win shy of reaching the World Series.
But the 25-year-old Judge, who finished his rookie season hitting .284 with 52 home runs and 114 RBIs, is one of several young talented players who led the Yankees into the ALCS for the first time since 2012.
Catcher Gary Sanchez hit .278 with 33 home runs and 90 RBIs in his first full season in the majors. RHP Luis Severino, 23, who was demoted and removed from the rotation last year, emerged as an ace, finishing 14-6 with a 2.98 ERA.
The Yankees still have 24-year-old first baseman Greg Bird, who was limited to 48 games due to an ankle injury, and have one of the top farm systems in baseball that features top prospect Gleyber Torres.
"You look at the production you got from an Aaron Judge and a Gary Sanchez and a Greg Bird and Chad Green, and (Tommy) Kahnle was able to do, I know he's not a rookie, but he's an extremely young player, just what these guys were able to do is pretty special," manager Joe Girardi told reporters after Game 7. "And to get 50-plus at-bats under your career in playoff baseball at this age, that's special."
Though Girardi's future with the Yankees is uncertain, he praised the team's young talent, notably Judge.
"I think his future is extremely bright," Girardi said. "I think he had an unbelievable season. Not one that -- I don't think I would have predicted that he would be an MVP candidate, from what we saw last year. I knew the heart was there. I knew that he had a great head on his shoulders. I knew the work ethic was there. I knew the talent was there. But that's a lot to ask from a rookie to be an MVP type of candidate."