Though the New York Yankees necessarily haven’t had the results to show for it, Aaron Judge has done his best to carry the roster over the last month. Shohei Ohtani might be the game’s literal most valuable player because of his ability to excel on both sides of the ball, but take Judge away from the Yankees and there’s no telling where this team would be.
Take Giancarlo Stanton’s absence, for instance. The slugger hasn’t played since July 24 and hasn’t made an offensive impact since July 15. That’s done little to stop Judge from maintaining his status as the most influential offensive player in baseball at the moment.
Here are his splits for July and August to further drive the point home:
- July – .333/.446/.807 with 25 runs scored, 13 HR, 32 RBI and 5 SBs in 25 games
- August – .294/.448/.618 with 13 runs scored, 6 HR, 14 RBI, 4 SBs in 20 games
Judge’s cumulative OPS since the All-Star break has been a ridiculous 1.257, which has come largely with Stanton not in the lineup (he logged 10 total at-bats after the break).
What’s even crazier, though? Judge has had that production despite seeing way fewer strikes from opposing pitchers. Nobody wants to pitch to him and he’s still raking.
New York Yankees star Aaron Judge is the American League MVP, probably
Fewer than ONE in every five pitches Judge has seen since July 24 has been a strike! Turns out, he doesn’t even need the protection in the lineup, though. He’s been just as good without the help he’s been getting all year.
Judge has accumulated a 7.4 WAR through his 120 games played. He leads the league in runs scored (100), homers (48), RBI (105), walks (69), slugging percentage (.663), OPS (1.056), OPS+ (197) and total bases (297). That’s with about 20% of his season coming without Stanton hitting right behind him, too.
Think about all of the other losses the Yankees have suffered outside of Stanton, too. Matt Carpenter going down was a killer, and the regressions of Jose Trevino and Gleyber Torres haven’t helped matters. Let’s not forget about the disappearing acts of Aaron Hicks and Josh Donaldson, too. Only DJ LeMahieu and Anthony Rizzo have been constants alongside Judge.
Though the Yankees have lost their footing pretty much since mid-June, they’re still very much in control with an eight-game lead in the AL East. They also trail the Houston Astros by only three games for the American League lead, which is still an attainable goal with 38 games remaining in the 2022 season.
With Stanton returning on Thursday, expect the complexion of the lineup to change, which will further boost Judge’s MVP chances and hopefully get the Yankees back on track with the home stretch already almost here.