New York Yankees fans have been craving ‘Judgement Day’ and now it seems as though Aaron Judge is doing everything in his power to make it happen.
The 6’7″ outfielder has been considered to be the man that will take over once Carlos Beltran’s contract expires at the end of this season but now, his rapid development at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre may be too intoxicating to ignore.
In the month of June, Judge has maintained a .337/.462/.695 slash line including nine home runs and 21 runs batted in in 26 games. Since June 18, he is batting .389 along with seven long balls and 12 RBI featuring super performances like his two home run game against the Toledo Mud Hens on June 21.
His on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) is also at 1.156 so it’s hard not to ask the question: “when will it be Judgement Day?”
Aaron Judge enthusiasts, I’d love to tell you that the 275-pound right fielder with a Stanton-esque build will be in the Bronx tomorrow to showcase his power that could keep American League pitchers up at night, but it’s a little more complicated than that.
Beltran, the man he is presumed to replace come 2017, has been absolutely on fire this season as he’s turning back the clock while on pace for 42 home runs and 111 RBIs. Sure, a hamstring hiccup for the 39-year old will keep him out of action for little less than a week, but it won’t be enough for the Yankees to make room on the roster for their top outfield prospect.
Is there a way they can clear a spot, though? Let’s be honest here, Judge is getting way to hard to overlook as “next year’s option” and despite his high strikeout rate (27%) in the minors, his recent tear has proven he is major league baseball ready for sure.
Although it doesn’t seem like it, the Yankees plan on competing this season and only find themselves 3.5 games out of a playoff spot. They aren’t about to be buyers, nor want to be sellers meaning a risk on a youngster may be the exclusive route to travel and for an offense that ranks 24 in runs scored, Judge could truly implement an improvement to this inconsistent lineup.
How, though? There seems to be no room for the intimidating bat of Aaron Judge. That is unless you make a pretty bold move in eating up the contract of Alex Rodriguez.
The three-time AL MVP cannot play the field, cannot run full speed without blowing a hamstring, and now, after being benched in back-to-back days against a right-handed pitcher earlier in the week, his team only trusts on him to hit southpaws.
A $21-million platoon man? How about no. At this moment, all the 14-time All-Star is doing is clogging up a much better duo in Beltran as the designated hitter and Aaron Hicks (or maybe even Judge) manning the right field position.
Beltran is hitting just under .300 (.297) and has already matched last year’s home run total (19) while being slightly more productive as a DH.
This season, Beltran owns a .320/.369/.680 with an OPS of 1.049 when he’s penciled in as the designated hitter and is at less risk (health wise) as he is not hobbling throughout right field.
Judge, simply put, is Cashman’s best option with Beltran reasonably taking a minimum of a day or two on the shelf. I’m not saying to promote Judge and cut A-Rod for a day-to-day injury, but the organization must take the Beltran injury as a warning signal of how cautious they must be with their best player and best possible trade asset.
Cashman has frequently stated it’s the organization’s obligation to reveal themselves as buyers or sellers but it’s also well-known that it’s in their best interest to push themselves into the playoff conversation, a mark they have been left out of due to dismal play.
“I think if you felt you can get a jolt from anyone, you would ask for it,” Girardi told ESPN. “Cash would do something about it. I know [Judge] is swinging the bat well. I know who is swinging the bat well all the time, but that is not my call. We need something.”
I know his overall .266 batting average with 16 homers this season isn’t overly compelling but it’s time to realize that perhaps “Judgement Day” could prove to be the turnaround the club needs.
While that day might be a little further down the line, there’s a genuine possibility you’ll pay witness to his Bronx debut if his contemporary production sustains over a long period of time.
All in all, Judge is a man who would resemble the skyscrapers that make up the great city’s skyline and he is making the organization think about giving him a chance to be as prominent as the city they play in.