The New York Yankees, for some reason, are in the middle of a pennant race in the middle of June and it’s not even summer yet. The Yankees, with no pitching prowess whatsoever, are relying on the bat of a rookie football-player-looking outfielder in Aaron Judge. The hot streak that Judge has been on all season long is bound to come to an end some point.
At least that’s the fear.
Judge hit his 23rd home run Friday night in a loss against the Oakland Athletics. Judge has been the talk of baseball since his insurgence in the spring. However, there should be a fear that he is going to fizzle out. Most rookies always end up hitting fastballs out of the park, but when it comes to curves and changeups, the strikeout rate increases. Judge is going to have a slump, but because he hasn’t yet it a bit concerning.
The Colorado Rockies’ Trevor Story comes to mind when talking about Judge’s jump from ogre-ish outfielder to an up-and-coming slugger that has to be taken seriously. Story had 17 home runs at this point last season — his rookie year — but only ended up hitting 10 more before an injury cut his season short.
Former Detroit Tigers first baseman Chris Shelton also went on a tear in the first half of his 2006 season. At this point, he had 12 home runs, including 10 in the first month of the season. He only ended up with 16 homers.
The sizzle is there with Judge. He has his own cheering section at Yankee Stadium. He has his own Twitter hashtag (#AllRise). He has everything there is become a Yankees legend for quite some time, even drawing weird comparisons to Babe Ruth.
There should be a sense of fear that he could end up going into a slump and not being able to get out. A slump can really damage the confidence of a young, budding star who has done nothing but sky rocket at 25 years old. Going from possibly not making the major league roster, to leading the AL’s triple crown numbers is a huge thing for a young baseball player.
Judge has been as real as the sun is hot. He is an enormous talent. We will see the real Judge once he faces some adversity. Until then, I take all of his swings, his home runs and the cheering section with a grain of salt. It’s nice to see the Yankees going for it though.