While many are noticing the power Aaron Judge brings to the New York Yankees, the rookie is also putting on a show with his glove.
New York Yankees rookie right fielder Aaron Judge has unquestionably become must-see television everytime he steps up to the dish.
Through the first 16 games of 2017, the 6-foot-7 beast owns a .281/.349/.667 slash line with six home runs and among the 67 outfielders who currently qualify for the batting title, Judge has the 11th-highest wRC+ (169).
Those numbers don’t quite do Judge’s power enough justice, and if you watched him at all this year, you’d know exactly why.
Across major league baseball, there have been 17 pitches hit with an exit velocity of 115 mph or faster, according to Statcast. Aaron Judge is responsible for six of them and his latest not only made him the first Yankees’ right fielder to hit six homers in the team’s first 17 games since Dave Winfield did in 1988, but it also made everyone’s jaw drop with amazement.
That 457-foot bomb off Antonio Bastardo extended the Yankees lead to 11-5 and left the bat at 115.6 mph. Both the distance traveled and exit velocity are career bests for Judge.
While the thought of seeing this rookie take center stage in this year’s home run derby at Marlins Park on July 11 is quite compelling, there’s more to Judge’s game than just mashing baseballs into oblivion.
In addition to owning the hardest base hit of 2017, Judge entered play on Saturday as one of the better defensive right fielders in baseball.
Among qualified right fielders, the 24-year-old entered Saturday tied for the second-best defensive rating, has the most defensive runs saved, the second-most outfield arms runs saved (evaluates an outfielder’s throwing arm based on how often runner advance on base hits and are thrown out trying to take extra bases) and has not made a single error in 122 total innings in right.
Of course, the appreciation for defensive abilities like this gets shoved under the rug thanks to daily blasts to the moon, but while his homers are making their way onto the Lit Six, his glove is low-key making appearances as well. Like when he made a diving catch on a line drive to rob Tampa Bay’s Logan Morrison of a hit:
Or during the first week of the season, when he ranged near the line and made a nice grab while crashing into the wall in foul territory at Camden Yards:
Or how about during Friday night’s 6-3 loss to Pittsburgh, when Judge made a leaping grab on the warning track to rob Andrew McCutchen of extra bases?
Judge, who was surrounded by many question marks entering this season, is demonstrating that his athletic ability goes beyond making baseballs wish they were never thrown by the pitcher.
And it’s a pleasant sign for the Yankees to know that along with having one of the better offensive rookies in the game, they are also employing one of the better defensive right fielders the sport currently has to offer.
A jaw-dropping power display and web gems. What could be more entertaining than that?