Monday, February 18, 2019

Meet the 2019 Yankees: Aaron Judge

The 2019 Yankees, much like the 2018 and 2017 versions, will live and die by the towering presence in right field named Aaron Judge. This is my opinion only, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I am not going to be the only person who really thinks so. Judge is a beast with the bat and a stellar defender with a rocket for an arm out in right field, but he is also the heart and soul of the team. As Judge goes, the team goes, so let’s get reacquainted with the man that will tow the line for the New York Yankees all season long here in 2019. Mr. Aaron Judge everybody.

Aaron Judge, 26-years old, is a right-handed hitting and throwing right fielder for the New York Yankees. While in the minor leagues Judge was used as a center fielder and left fielder as well, showing a familiarity with all three outfield positions throughout his MLB and professional career. Judge is going to strike out a lot, but he is also going to hit home runs a lot and drive in runs a lot while hitting around the .280 mark, if history is any indicator of his future.

Aaron James Judge was born on April 26, 1992 in Linden, California where he was adopted the day after he was born by Patty and Wayne Judge. Both of Aaron’s parents were school teachers. Judge attended Lindgren High School where he was a three-sport star. Judge was a pitcher and a first baseman for the baseball team, a wide receiver for the football team, and was a center for the basketball team. Judge excelled at all three sports, but he especially caught the eye of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Stanford Cardinals in college football, both wanted Judge to play tight end, as well as the Oakland Athletics and Fresno State University. The Oakland Athletics selected Judge in the 31st round of the 2010 MLB First Year Players Draft, but instead Judge opted to go to college and play baseball for the Fresno State Bulldogs baseball team. Judge slugged his way to a WAC tournament title and College Baseball Home Run Derby, among other accolades, through the 2013 season before the New York Yankees drafted the right fielder in the first round of the 2013 MLB Draft, 32nd overall. Judge signed with the Yankees for $1.8 million and began his professional career with the club in 2014.

By 2015, the Yankees invited Judge to the spring training camp and also had their right fielder at the highest minor league level of Triple-A. Judge represented the Yankees in the 2015 All-Star Futures Game, but the team kept him out of their batch of September call ups due to a roster crunch. Judge was chosen as a 2016 Triple-A All Star but opted not to play in the game after spraining his knee earlier in the season. Judge, instead, got healthy and took the time off, hoping for a call up to the Major League level, a call that would come on August 13, 2016. Judge made his MLB debut against the Tampa Bay Rays that day and hit a home run in his first at-bat, just one at-bat after Tyler Austin, also making his MLB debut, also hit a home run in his first MLB at-bat. This was the first time a pair of teammates hit home runs in their first career at-bats in the same game. Judge was named the Yankees Opening Day starting right fielder for the 2017 season, and the beginning of a special season took off almost immediately.

The Yankees debuted a cheering section in the right field seats in 2017 called “The Judge’s Chambers” on May 22 after Judge won AL Rookie of the Month in April. Judge won the award again during the month of May en route to being voted as the starting right fielder for the American League in the 2017 All-Star Game. Judge broke the Yankees rookie record for most home runs in a season when he hit his 30th home run, passing Joe DiMaggio and became just the second rookie ever, the first being Mark McGwire, to have 30 home runs before the All-Star break. Judge won the 2017 Home Run Derby and even passed McGwire for the most home runs by a rookie in a single season when he hit his 49th and 50th home runs on September 25. Judge led the Yankees to the AL Wild Card, an eventual win over the Minnesota Twins, and within one game of the 2017 World Series before ultimately falling to the Houston Astros in the seventh game of the ALCS. Judge was unanimously voted as the American League Rookie of the Year in 2017 and also finished 2nd in the AL MVP Award vote behind Houston’s Jose Altuve.

Judge was back to prove that there wouldn’t be a sophomore slump, and he did just that in 2018 for the New York Yankees. Judge was once again a starting outfielder in the 2018 MLB All-Star Game, although the Yankees right fielder chose to skip the Home Run Derby this season. Judge wondered if a shoulder injury that required surgery the previous offseason was caused by participating in the 2017 Derby but skipping the event would not keep Judge off the disabled list in 2018. Judge was struck on the wrist by Kansas City Royals starter Jakob Junis, causing Judge to miss two months with the injury. Judge led the Yankees past the Oakland Athletics in the 2018 AL Wild Card Game, but the Yankees fell just short in the ALDS against the eventual World Series champion Boston Red Sox, ending their season prematurely.

Here are a few of the New York Yankees and general MLB records that Judge already holds in his young career, shout out to Wikipedia for these:

New York Yankees franchise records[edit]

  • Most home runs in a season hit at home: 33 (Babe Ruth held the record with 32).
  • Most home runs in a season by a rookie: 52 (Joe DiMaggio held the record with 29)[95]
  • First right-handed hitter in Yankees history with at least 100 RBIs, 100 runs scored and 100 walks in a single season
  • Fifth player in franchise history to start an All-Star Game in the first two seasons. (Following Babe RuthLou GehrigJoe DiMaggio, and Lefty Gomez.
  • Most home runs (4) in the first seven home playoff games, tying Reggie Jackson (1977–78).

MLB records[edit]

  • Most home runs by a rookie, 52 (Mark McGwire held record with 49)[96]
  • Measured exit velocity of 121.1 miles per hour (194.9 km/h), again setting a new record for the hardest ever measured by Statcast. (June 10, 2017)[97]
  • Holds the MLB record for striking out in 37 consecutive games. (2017)[98]
  • Holds the MLB record for most strikeouts by a rookie with 208.
  • Holds the MLB record for most walks by a rookie with 127.
  • First rookie in MLB history with at least 45 home runs, 100 RBIs and 100 runs scored.[99]
  • Most golden sombreros in postseason play since 1903.[100]
  • Fastest to reach 60 home runs (197 games)[101]

Will Judge add any this year in 2019? I surely think so, but you will just have to stay tuned to find out. All Rise, because here comes the Judge.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)