Aaron Judge Blasts Estimated 500-foot Home Run
Yankee outfield prospect Aaron Judge teed off on a batting practice fast ball that landed over the scoreboard at George M. Steinbrenner Field at Yankee camp yesterday.
Don’t forget the 6-foot-7, 275 pound slugger also homered off the black screen past the center-field fence, but it was the estimated 500-foot moonshot that had everyone buzzing.
“I didn’t see it, I heard of them,’’ Yankees’ DH Alex Rodriguez told George King III of the NY Post. “Everybody is talking about them.’’
The pitch was thrown by 58-year old first base coach Tony Pena and Judge made that ball wish it was never thrown. The ball’s destination was some area beyond the 40-foot-high scoreboard in deep left-center field, outside the confines of the facility. Despite the long ball coming off of a 58-year old ex-catcher, the raw power that Judge displayed was impeccable.
Call to the Pen
“That’s impressive,” manager Joe Girardi told Ryan Hatch of NJ Media, who had a front row seat to the power display. “There aren’t a lot of guys that can do that. We’ve talked about what a great athlete he is and obviously trying to get him the reps to where he can be a real effective player here. But it’s nice to see that type of power because not everyone has it.”
Judge, who tried to downplay the ball, didn’t watch the flight of the baseball but a grin was on his face when he was informed of it’s destination.
“The wind was blowing out,” Judge told George King III. “It just kind of happens. I just got blessed, you know? I’m just trying to make good contact right now; feel my swing, see how everything is feeling. Some just happen to go that far.”
This power is something the Yankees saw coming. In a 2015 scouting report by Baseball prospectus, made the baseball world well aware of why this beast is so special.
"Power is result of size and strength rather than elite bat speed; does not sell out for power or look to drive the ball; will run into home runs because of natural strength; ball jumps off his bat, especially when he gets his arms extended."
Judge had his first Yankee camp rodeo last spring, when he started showing off his raw power in one batting practice session after another.
The 23-year old started 2015 with Double-A Trenton providing a slash line of .284/.350/.516 with 12 home runs while driving in 44 runs in 63 games. After a promotion to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, he struggled with pitch recognition producing a stat line of .224/.308/.373 with 8 home runs while driving in 28 runs in 61 games for the Rail Riders.
“I think it’s adjusting how pitchers are going to pitch him, is the bottom line,” Girardi told King. “He went from a league where he was doing really well in Double-A and had some struggles in Triple-A, but you have a lot of crafty people in Triple-A. It’s learning to make adjustments and we feel that he’s made some adjustments in his swing that should help with that.”
Judge’s MLB ETA is expected to be in 2017 and he will get work in at Triple-A, but he very well may be the first option if an injury occurs on the big league level. Yankee fans prepare, “Judgement Day” is approaching.