For reasons I don’t understand, the Yankees All Star right fielder, and still a candidate for the AL MVP, is taking on a lot of unwarranted punishment in certain quarters of the media. Are these people nuts?
Yankees All Star right fielder, Aaron Judge, is drawing a boatload of criticism in the national media for his “look now before it disappears” season. And as a credit to the New York media, which, nevertheless, is probably biting at the bit, I don’t get it.
And I’m tired of hearing about the “count” that’s underway tallying the number of games that Judge has consecutively struck out in,
To those writers, and especially to Neil Payne who writes for FiveThirtyEight, with a title like, “Is Aaron Judge The Next Babe Ruth … Or The Next Jeremy Lin?”, I take exception with you. And all others who seem bent on trashing him only because had the unfortunate circumstance of setting the baseball world on fire in the first half.
Okay, they need the numbers?
I’ll give you some numbers if you need them and haven’t been paying attention. Aaron Judge is the only man who is going to have 200 or more strikeouts with a batting average of .270 or better in major league history.
Here’s something else for you to ponder. If the season were to end today, is there any other team that wouldn’t take the 37 home runs, 90 RBI, and the 91 runs scored produced by Judge with 35 or so more games left to play in the 2017 season?
I think not, and you should think a little bit too. Granted, Judge has a propensity to strike out. But so does every other explosive hitter in the major leagues today. It’s the way the game is played, and if you want to go back to the days of Harvey Kuenn, or even a Hall of Famer like Rod Carew, both of whom sprayed hits all over the field, that’s your choice.
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But apart from the numbers, you are missing an essential ingredient of who Aaron Judge is, as a man and as a ballplayer. He knows he is under attack and all pitchers who have the right stuff are onto him. But it doesn’t bother him.
He shows up at the ballpark ready to give his all and do battle, despite the fact he probably knows he isn’t the hitter who hit for an average of better than .330 in the first half. At the same time though, he also knows he isn’t Jim Kingman, who hit towering home runs but managed to bat only .236 in a career that spanned sixteen years.
Or, try this one on. Can you name one batter in the Yankees regular lineup who is more feared than Judge, and is most likely to be “pitched around”, meaning the hitters before and behind him get more juicy fastballs to hit?
Yankees have a keeper, case closed.
Judge has his deficiencies, and he continues to work on them. But the Yankees have themselves lightning in a bottle with Judge. These are formative years for him, and any judgment as to his overall “rating” is premature and without any justification.
Or, if you want to put it another way, if you had a fantasy league and you were drafting today, who would you choose as your right fielder?
Case closed. Lay off this guy. The struggles he is undergoing will only make him better because that’s the kind of person he is.
And that’s the mark of a true Yankee. Wait and see.