On August 13th, 2016, a 6’7 280-pound behemoth dressed in pinstripes walked up to the plate at Yankee Stadium. On a 1-2 count, he smacked one deep into center field and caused an uproar by fans all around. He came from Linden, California and played college baseball at Fresno State before being selected in the first round of the 2013 MLB draft by the New York Yankees. Not many had heard the tale of Aaron Judge, however, fans instantly became intrigued by his power and stability.
Coming into the 2017 season, he was named the opening day starter in right field and started off with a bang. He crushed 10 homers by the end of April tying Jose Abreu and Trevor Story’s rookie record. These dingers were not a product of Yankee Stadium’s short field size either, the dude crushed these baseballs. We’re talking about an exit velocity of 119 miles per hour, which for some reason, is another statistic added to baseball in 2015. I mean this guy is launching balls left and right and is not slowing down, we haven’t seen a player in pinstripes hitting home runs like this since Mickey Mantle. Each week, Judge is joining legendary names and shattering records in his ROOKIE season. He tied Joe DiMaggio’s record for most home runs in a Yanks rookie year with his 29th and we are just at the halfway mark of the season. Judge took home the rookie of the month award in April, May, and June which is a first in MLB history and just the fifth to win the award three times.
We’ve seen rookie talents take center stage with a lot of hype such as Bryce Harper and Mookie Betts, but their seasons did not take off as early as Judge’s has. As of today’s date, August 2nd, Judge is hitting .300 with 34 homers and 75 RBI’s to go along with a .425 OBP. Forget about Rookie of the Year award, they mind as well engrave his name into the plaque. He is without a doubt being thrown into AL MVP discussion, and is also flirting with triple crown numbers; leading the league in home runs to go along with RBI’s and ranks third in batting average. These numbers are jumping off the page and the only question I can think of is, can he sustain this? I personally thought there was going to be some sort of drop-off by the time June hit but I was dead wrong. Although he has slowed down in recent times, these are historic numbers from a giant nonetheless. If he can even sustain a fraction of what he’s doing, Judge would still be in the upper echelon of baseball’s top players this season. The 25-year old already has a section of Yankee Stadium built for him labeled “All rise for the Judge.” What hasn’t this guy accomplished in 100 games this season?