With the New York Yankees undergoing a massive youth movement, they might have found their new face of the franchise in Aaron Judge.
In the first round of the 2013 MLB Draft, the New York Yankees selected Aaron Judge out of California State University Fresno. Little did they know who, exactly, they would truly be selecting on that day.
That day, the New York Yankees might have selected the current face of their franchise as well as a major threat in their lineup for years to come.
While it could be argued that there are other players more worthy than Judge of the “face of the Yankees” tag, it could also be argued further that he should be the one with that tag.
One aspect of Judge’s package that makes him a franchise player so young in his career is his remarkable talent. He might have the rawest power out of anyone else in baseball.
While he did struggle after being called up in 2016, he realized the adjustments he had to make over the offseason to improve and made them accordingly.
So far in just 10 games in 2017, Judge looks like a completely different player than he did in his 27 games last season. He is currently slashing .242/.324/.545 with three home runs and seven RBI’s.
It should also be noted how Judge has cut down on his strikeouts, having only 10 in 37 plate appearances this year compared to 42 in 95 last season.
He has taken advantage of the opportunity provided to him after his solid spring training and ran with it. The right-hander has also been doing the best he can to try and produce offense in a Yankees lineup that is currently missing two of their biggest hitters in Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius.
What else makes Judge the current face of the New York Yankees? Glad you asked, it’s this marvelous thing Yankee ownership loves having with players which is called marketability.
There may not be a more marketable player currently on the Yankees then Judge, he is the complete package. He is the one player on the Yankees that is currently considered to be a “must-see at-bat.”
He is a 6-foot-7, 282-pound monster who single-handedly brings fans to the ballparks in hopes they will be able to witness one of his majestic moonshots in person.
It is not only his home runs that are jaw-dropping either, even his base hits make fans say “wow” under their breath. On Wednesday against the Rays, Judge blasted a 116.5 m.p.h. single up the middle, nearly taking off the head of pitcher Jumbo Diaz.
— #Statcast (@statcast) April 12, 2017
While it is important to take his on-field skills and marketability into account, something else fans should look at when looking at the face of the team is off the field actions. Judge certainly fits the bill for this as well.
Despite being one of the top young talents in all of baseball, the 6-foot-7 slugger is also one of the most modest and humble as well.
A prime example of this could be seen when Judge launched his mega home run in the first game of spring training and went on to explain afterward how distance doesn’t matter to him and how he just wants to focus on improving for the regular season.
“It’s the first game,’’ Judge told the Daily News. “I’m more concerned with swinging at the right pitches. I’m not too worried about results right now. I’m just getting ready for the season.’’
Not only is the modesty and humbleness something we have seen from the slugger, but we have also noticed the outstanding relationship he has created with the fans.
We saw this on full display on Wednesday when Judge decided to have a game of catch with a younger fan, something most big leaguers don’t usually do too often.
He was able to make the day of this fan just through a simple game of catch and that is what makes him so special. While he is worried about helping the team win games, he is also worried about making the fans happy as well.
It could be a stretch, but from what we have seen from Judge so far in his career, his personality has a few similarities to “The Captain” Derek Jeter.
They are both very level-headed players who are able to keep their cool and adjust when things do not go their way. Even though Judge was struggling last year he did not show any aggression, he just took note of what he had to fix and fixed it.
It is very interesting that despite all of the top prospects and aging veterans the Yankees currently have in the organization, the man who could be holding the franchise tag is right in front of our eyes.
Whether many fans would like to admit it or not, Aaron Judge is the current face of the New York Yankees and should be expected to hold that spot for many years to come.