Let’s all take a second to appreciate Aaron Judge.
The Yankees offense as a collective has been nothing short of terrible so far this season, but the driving force that has kept the Yankees afloat is No. 99.
Heading into Thursday night’s finale against the Twins, Judge led all qualified Yankees in the following statistics according to Fangraphs: AVG (.297), OBP (.396), SLG (.548), HR (15), RBI (35), runs (34), wRC+ (162) and fWAR (2.1).
He has been downright fantastic.
This has been Judge’s best season since his Rookie of the Year season in 2017. What makes us think that this will continue?
Well, for starters, the underlying numbers have been scary good.
Yankees: All of Aaron Judge’s numbers have been scary good like 2017.
While Judge has always been near the top of the league in all of the underlying statistics, this is just flat-out incredible. He is hitting the ball consistently harder than anyone in baseball and is within the top 2% in all of baseball in barrel percentage. This is a recipe for success moving forward.
Judge’s expected statistics (per Baseball Savant) actually suggest he is underperforming despite already being in the MVP conversation in the early going.
Expected stats are exactly as the name suggests; a way of analyzing the type of contact a hitter is generating and using that to predict how they are going to perform moving forward. Judge’s numbers actually suggest that he should be better than he has been.
Here is his expected slashline: .342/.458/.657. My goodness.
Outside of the one tough home stand against the Astros in early May, he has been wildly consistent. This is the quality of at-bat that a healthy Judge provides.
The biggest concern has been and always will be the health, though. Much has been made of his general soreness this season, but I actually believe that the occasional rest can be helpful for him as we progress throughout the season.
Judge has missed a significant amount of time each of the last three seasons, so making sure he stays fresh should be the team’s top priority. Whether that means starting him at DH on a Giancarlo Stanton rest day or giving him the full day off, the occasional rest will allow him to stay on the field for the whole season.
The extra rest also allows him to occasionally fill in for Brett Gardner in center field to avoid the team playing someone like Tyler Wade. That in itself should convince Yankees fans the rest is a good idea.
Without Aaron Judge, the Yankees’ season would be in complete shambles. It is time that we take a step back and just enjoy his greatness.