8. Aaron Judge Betting on Himself…is Working
Three-plus weeks into the 2022 MLB regular season, and the notion that Aaron Judge would be wise to accept the Yankees’ $213 million deal suddenly feels ridiculous.
The pendulum could absolutely swing again by the end of May, and likely will rock back and forth throughout the season, but through Sunday, May 1, Judge could not have made a smarter decision to let things simmer.
Contributions from the rest of the roster have hidden that Big No. 99 has outright carried the team during this recent nine-game stretch, but Judge’s dominance — and sudden pivot after early struggles — is right there in the black and white.
During a length of time where most of MLB has yet to figure out the deadened baseball and upgraded breaking stuff, Judge has hit .333 with 7 homers and 15 RBI in his past 11 games, maximizing that to .391 with five of those bombs in his past five contests.
Judge, at his peak, looks closer to a player who deserves a record-setting AAV. The Yankees are nearing two full weeks of Peak Judge in the most important season of his career to date.
7. Michael King Has Papered Over Bullpen Issues
Through 22 games, Michael King — from failed starter to swingman to secret weapon — has already racked up 1.1 WAR and an 0.61 ERA, striking out 22 men in 14.1 innings pitched. He can come in to put out a fire, or he can erase an opponents’ prime scoring innings off the board like — dare we say? — Garrett Whitlock.
He’s been an all-purpose destroyer whenever he’s been available, which has kindly hidden that there are a few bullpen cogs who still aren’t quite right yet. Jonathan Loaisiga’s trademark 2021 command has deserted him a bit, and though his most recent two outings have been close to perfect, he’s still reeling from some early-season stinkers. Chad Green? He’s at the absolute bottom of the bullpen totem pole, barely skating by with diminished stuff and a 1.50 WHIP. Lucas Luetge? He’s out of options, but he’s probably the ‘pen arm who’s struggled most to harness his upgraded breaking stuff.
King’s been a wonder, but that’s three reliable bullpen arms from 2021 who’ve been anything but this year. And you wonder why you should never sign a non-closer to a three-year deal.