At 6'8", the Yankees right fielder looks more like an NFL tight end than a baseball player. Aaron Judge burst on the scene and captured the baseball world with his long, majestic, home runs that set a new standard in baseball. The 25-year-old rookie captured the hearts of New York fans to the extent that they build a special cheering section for him in the right field stands. In the first half, Judge’s name was being thrown around as a possible MVP candidate. But that was before the All-Star break.
Today Judge is no longer in the conversation for a triple crown, instead, the conversation is more focused on whether or not he will be on the Yankees roster for the remainder of the season. The biggest story about him in the second half of the season isn’t about long home runs, but it was focused on his 37 straight games with a strikeout and his rising strikeout rate. Despite all of the numbers and the strikeouts, I say that Aaron Judge is one of the best things that could have happened to Major League Baseball, and not for his playing style, but how he handles himself.
Empire state of mind
Playing in New York City, for the New York Yankees, is a very difficult task, just ask Randy Johnson. The New York media will glorify you when everything is good and will be ready to ostracize you during a slump. Despite all of this Aaron Judge has remained the same.
His preparation for games has only intensified, and on the field, he is still the big kid with a smile as he congratulates guys as they enter the dugout. In today’s world, the team first guy has been overcast by players only looking after themselves. The Marshawn Lynch’s and Bryce Harper’s sound bites rule the world and become classic memes on the internet. Aaron Judge has always been about winning and the team first. Even in the first half of the season when he was leading in the triple crown it was always about the team first. Even during his 37 games with a strikeout when the media would crowd around his locker after the game he would stand there and answer every question and his message about the team and winning never wavered. To stand there after each game and take these questions is something that sports hasn’t had for a long time.
Don't judge just yet
Look Aaron Judge had an unbelievable first half of the season, and even though he is no longer hitting .330, he is still having an incredibly good year for a rookie and someone of his stature. Aaron Judge isn't a Chris Davis, Adam Dunn, or Chris Carter. Judge is something completely different, and yes the strikeouts will always be there but the average will be there as well. I believe that we are just getting used to Aaron Judge and in the years to come, he will grow to become one of the most feared hitters in Major League Baseball.