Any time Aaron Judge steps to the dish over the course of the Yankees’ final 16 regular-season games, there’s a significant chance history could be made.
Yes, even if he’s already matched and surpassed both Roger Maris’ AL record of 61 home runs, as well as Babe Ruth’s iconic mark of 60 round-trippers. And we’re not just talking about Barry Bonds territory, here.
Judge is having such a well-rounded season that he’s somehow worked himself into contention to lead the American League in the Big Three batting categories, and could earn himself a Triple Crown if things break right down the stretch.
In fact, not only is the first Yankees Triple Crown since Mickey Mantle in 1956 (and the first overall since Miguel Cabrera in 2012) firmly in play, but it would actually take a furious charge for Judge to even have to sweat over two of the three categories.
If 60+ homers doesn’t clinch him an MVP, perhaps reaching this additional historic triumvirate will. It worked wonders when Miggy Cabrera had to defeat an Angel last decade.
Can Yankees slugger Aaron Judge hit for Triple Crown in 2022?
In order to secure the Triple Crown, Judge needs to finish the season leading the American League in home runs, RBI, and batting average. It’s an outdated statistical achievement based on a different game, where men were men and singles-hitting was paramount.
And yet … Judge still has a serious shot! Now that the league-leader in batting average rarely hits .356, sure, but still!
The home run race is already a wrap; Judge has 59 through 146 games, and his closest AL competitor — Yordan Alvarez of the Astros — has 37. Unless Yordan pops off for 23 in 16 games and Judge rests the remainder of the regular season, this one’s done. Second place overall goes to Kyle Schwarber, who has 39 bombs in Philadelphia. Not since the days of Babe Ruth have we seen a gap like this. Is that good?
In terms of the RBI chase, Judge currently leads Cleveland’s José Ramírez, 127 to 112. That’s not quite as much of a done deal, but it’d take a monstrous heater for Ramírez to close the gap. Luckily, Cleveland doesn’t play the Yankees during this time frame, considering J-Ram has knocked in 31 runs against them in 49 career games.
The only complete toss-up left on the board is the batting average race, which Judge has stunningly rejoined in recent weeks. Entering play Tuesday, Judge is hitting .316, a percentage point behind Luis Arraez of the Twins and his league-leading .317 mark. Xander Bogaerts is also currently at .316, and Judge will face off with Bogey’s Red Sox four times this week in the Bronx.
At the end of that series, we might know far more about whether Judge will be able to claim the famous Horse Trophy.
Be honest. You might have had high expectations for a full season of Aaron Judge before the 2022 campaign began, but you didn’t expect this.
Judge will be taking plenty to the bank at the end of the season, but if he’s able to secure the Triple Crown as the undisputed best offensive player in the league, that would be a mighty nice flourish to bring to the negotiating table.
Hey, Hal: Would you pay Mickey Mantle $350 million if you could? Because you basically can now.