What can’t Aaron Judge do? Well, he does not do damage on pitches way out of the strike zone but last time I checked, hitters, other than Vladimir Guerrero, are not supposed to hit pitches out of the zone for home runs or doubles.
If you have watched the 6-foot-7, 282-pound New York Yankees‘ slugger tear the cover off the baseball in 2017, you probably just assumed he could pick pitches out of the dirt and hit them out of the park.
Sorry, he is not Superman or a robot — he just is the closest thing to a superhero baseball has seen in a long, long time.
Based on record of accomplishment, Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout is probably still the best player in baseball but he has missed the last 13 games with a thumb injury and Judge has taken over the baseball world and the American League MVP discussion.
If Judge continues to produce at his current pace, the guy that got loud MVP chants Monday night in Anaheim will supplant Trout as the game’s brightest star.
Judge is the biggest topic in the game every night and for good reason and he seems to do something historic every game.
I could go on and on with his ridiculous numbers, but let’s try and put his performance into perspective.
22 — That is the number of home runs Judge has hit…less than three months into the season.
.341 — Judge’s league-leading batting average
.448 — Judge’s on base percentage…which also leads the league
.714 — Not surprisingly, Judge’s league-leading slugging percentage
1.162 — Judge’s league-leading OPS
155 — Judge’s total bases, tied with Corey Dickerson of the Tampa Bay Rays.
No player has walked more in the American League and while he has struck out 75 times this season, Judge’s batting average and on-base percentage proves he is not your prototypical power hitter.
Judge is a complete hitter with the best raw power in the game…that is scary.
Last season, in 95 plate appearances, Judge struck out over 44 percent of the time. This season, he is punching out less than 30 percent of the time. Judge’s knowledge of the strike zone is unbelievable.
Here is the scariest part for opposing pitchers; the right fielder is crushing any pitch in the strike zone. I mean ANY pitch.
As brooksbaseball.net proves, Judge can hit any pitch in any part of the zone.
Other crazy stats:
- Judge became the first Yankee since Roger Maris in 1960 to be in an age-25 or younger season and to have at least 22 homers by the All-Star break….and there is still a month to go.
- Judge is the first Yankee rookie to hold sole possession of the AL home run lead for a day and he has led for 35.
- Judge is second in the league in RBI. The last AL rookie to lead in that category was Walt Dropo in 1950.
- Aaron Judge is the first Yankees position player with a 4.0-plus bWAR (4.1) as a rookie since Willie Randolph.
- At his current pace, Judge would finish with a 10.6 WAR and could easily reach 11. The last player to have an 11-plus WAR for a single season was Barry Bonds in 2002 and the highest single season WAR ever was Babe Ruth in 1923 (14.1). That year, Ruth hit 41 bombs, drove in 130 and hit .393.
Move over Mike Trout. I have not seen a player that can cover the strike zone and hit the ball with authority to all fields, while at the same time be selective at the plate — since Barry Bonds.
Not since Bonds have I seen a player be timed up to the point where the same swing can cover three different locations of pitches. At that point, you know you are a superstar.
Judge is the obvious Rookie-of-Year and MVP favorite and he isn’t just a great hitter. Judge is one of the best right fielders in the game and he is a smart base runner.
Not only is Judge a complete five-tool player, he also hits baseball harder and farther than any player I have seen and maybe ever. Then again, what did you expect from the largest player, by body mass, in major-league history.
It is far too early to speculate how his career will match up because he hasn’t even played a full season, but he is putting together one of the most productive single seasons in baseball history and he is a rookie.
Only three players in MLB history have finished their rookie season with a slash line of .300/.400/.600. Ted Williams and Albert Pujols are two of them. Judge is on pace to join them.