Yankees Judge and Stanton will blast home run projections

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 17: Aaron Judge /

The numbers have been crunched. The top 100 lists are out. Projections have been made. What’s it all about? It’s all for bold Yankees predictions and high expectations of the season that awaits.

Fans are ready for action as pitchers and catchers report next week, and Spring Training for the rest of the league is poised to begin soon after. So what do I think will happen in 2018 for the Yankees?

One thing I believe will transpire, as so often does with the Yankees, is that records will fall. One Yankee record, in particular, is in danger of being surpassed by the team’s newest deadly hitting combination.

Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton will break Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle’s record for most combined home runs by teammates set in 1961. Maris, of course, set the single-season home run record with 61 and Mantle had 54, combining for 115 long balls.

Had Judge and Stanton been teammates in 2017, their combined totals would have put them just four dingers behind Maris and Mantle with 111 — 59 for Stanton and 52 for Judge.

Stanton (55) and Judge (43) are projected to combine for 98 home runs in 2018, according to ZiPS projections. However, in Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA projections, Stanton (41) and Judge (37) are only projected to hit 78 home runs combined.

Neither of these predictions, I would argue, add up for fans of these two pinstriped powerhouses.

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With the specter of their award-winning seasons behind them, Judge and Stanton are poised to break out together onto an even more significant stage in 2018. Bradford Doolittle of ESPN has written:

"“In official baseball age, Stanton will be 28 next season and Judge 26. That’s a combined age of 54 years that suggests they should be at peak production for at least the first few years of their partnership. That’s scary enough, but then consider this: According to the three-year park factors in the 2018 Bill James Handbook, Yankee Stadium is the most homer-friendly park in baseball and just a smidge behind Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park for the top venue for righty sluggers.”"

Thus, Stanton could see even better home run numbers in ’18 in his new home park. If we go back to the ZiPS projections for Judge and Stanton and check the wRC+ statistic, they are both projected way above average.

If you are unfamiliar with this handy statistic, Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post described wRC+ as:

"“…a stat that dissects a player’s overall offense, while adjusting for the effects of the parks and league he plays in.”"

Stanton is projected by ZiPS to have a wRC+ of 161 and Judge to have a wRC+ of 139, with Stanton falling into the “excellent” and Judge in the “good category.”

For example, power hitters J.D. Martinez (137), Khris Davis (125) and Joey Gallo (113) all profiled lower than Judge and Stanton in overall offense.

Predicted to be the core of the Yankees’ offense, Judge and Stanton’s overall offensive numbers encourage fans to believe they will meet and surpass projections for their combined home run totals this season.

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Yankee fans have high expectations for the team home run total, which was a league-leading 241 in ’17, and for Judge and Stanton individually. The projections are just targets that fans would do good to look beyond.