New York Yankees: Aaron Judge Has Clear Path To The Show
Steve Mitchell, USATI

The New York Yankees now have the roster flexibility to consider Aaron Judge one of their own.

Expect the coverage, hype, and drama to be nothing short of absurd this Friday when Alex Rodriguez encounters his final few at-bats with the New York Yankees and ultimately says goodbye to baseball.

However, this should be business as usual for the organization. In fact, right here, right now, is when they need to look ahead and start shaping the roster for the forthcoming departure of a detrimental clog. Like it or not, A-Rod was taking a roster spot, serving no purpose, and getting all too comfortable with the pine.

Now, with two aging boppers — Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran — no longer taking up room in the Bronx, the Yanks can progress with their youth movement even more drastically with the next subject being Aaron Judge.

Looming at Triple-A Scranton all year long, the front office has been itching to make “Judgement Day” a reality.

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With what they have learned over the past few weeks, it does not take an aging state of mediocrity to sell tickets. The ideal mentality is actually the direct opposite.

Fielding young, exciting, future stars will fill seats regardless of the outcome. With the likes of Gary Sanchez and Luis Severino currently making a large impact, every day without Judge this weekend will be wasted without big league exposure.

This Saturday, August 13 can and should be the day when a packed Yankee Stadium pays witness to the debut of the organization’s No. 4 prospect. It should be the 6’7″, 275 lb right fielder receiving his fist roll call as the Bleacher Creatures chant the much-anticipated name.

Perhaps the only factor keeping this from happening is health. The mild PCL sprain he suffered right in the midst of a torrent stretch in Scranton kept him out of action for nearly a month.

Now, back on the field and continuing to produce at a high level, there should be no hesitation as to who gets the call when the roster vacancy is discussed. A team-leading 17 homers and 60 runs batted in this year should be enough to give the opportunity to thrive in a ballpark suited for his prowess.

With evident raw opposite field power which he displayed for every Yankee fan in spring training, the short porch in right field can immediately serve as an acquaintance.

There are justifiable reasons why scouts and top tier baseball minds view him as a 40 home run threat, or a Giancarlo Stanton type figure. An ability to drive the ball to all fields while letting the ball travel in the zone — effectively letting his large frame do the work — is what separates him from the vast majority of minor league power hitters.

To think he will not have an impact in a hitter-friendly ballpark is simply naive.

At the very least, he is groomed for 2017. Barring an unforeseen catastrophic injury or a loss in prestige, Judge is the starting right fielder come opening day. Do the Yanks want to thrust him into a big league campaign with no prior experience? Absolutely not.

Besides, sitting Aaron Hicks down to give a potential box office name meaningful experience does not seem to be the worst thing in the world. A two-month span appears to be the ripe amount of exposure to get him accustomed to big league arms, tendencies, and overall required plate discipline.

The wait needs to end and it needs to end promptly.

Anticipation and speculation should turn into reality.

When A-Rod clears out his locker late Friday night, the Yankees should pin Judge’s name to the empty slot.

NEXT: Brian McCann Clears Waivers (Report)