New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge hasn’t decided yet but history is on his side if he decides to participate in the Home Run Derby.
Every game this season has essentially been a Home Run Derby for New York Yankees superstar Aaron Judge. He leads the league in various offensive categories, especially with 26 incredible moonshots under his belt so far this year.
And now Yankees fans are questioning what he’ll do with his invite to the Home Run Derby next month. If he participates, many argue that he’ll damage his picturesque swing and fall into a slump when the Yankees need him most. If he doesn’t, fans of baseball will be missing truly the greatest home run hitter so far this season.
While Judge has yet to make a decision regarding the Derby, fans are already throwing out excuses as to why he shouldn’t participate.
They’re worried he’ll ruin his swing by only swinging for the fences. They’re concerned it’ll affect his mindset at the plate when he comes back from the All-Star break. Maybe he’ll completely fall apart at the plate, turning back into the Judge we saw in 2016.
Legitimate concerns? Maybe. But history has a way of repeating itself and the rookie Judge finds himself in some pretty good hands.
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Since the Derby’s inception in 1985, the focus was on the bringing in the hitters who would put on the best show. From 1985 until 2016, there were only eight rookies who participated in the Home Run Derby.
Perhaps what is more impressive is that the majority of these rookies remained steady after their appearances in the Derby, not falling off like fans assumed happens. Most recently, Corey Seager participated last year and left even better, batting .297 in the first half and finishing out the season with a .321 BA.
Kris Bryant improved after the 2015 Derby, raising his BA from .269 to .282 for the second half. Evan Longoria remained steady in 2008, as did McGwire in 1987. Piazza kept an incredibly similar line after the All-Star break in 1993, slashing .317 with 18 home runs before and .320 with 17 home runs after.
While a few fell off after the break (Canseco in 1986 and Joc Pederson in 2015), the majority of them remained steady despite participating in the Derby.
Interesting, eh? That’s something to take into consideration when it comes to hoping Judge will participate.
Oh, also history is pretty interesting in telling us that Judge will have success after the break, seeing as how six of these eight rookies who took part in the Home Run Derby in their first season ended up winning their league’s Rookie of the Year award.
And none of them have Aaron Judge’s monster numbers. So we he could win far more than Rookie of the Year.
Another excuse is that he’ll ruin his swing? That’s funny. Simply put, Judge swings for the fences every day in batting practice, which is essentially what the Derby is. People are intrigued by his batting practice sessions and the Derby is the same, except with more fans and more cheering.
He’s used to doing it now in batting practice and, guess what? He’s still got the highest batting average in the league and his swing looks better than ever.
So if Judge participates in the Derby, he will not only bring joy to so many fans of the game of baseball, he’ll put on quite a show that will continue into the second half.
No more excuses. Baseball needs Aaron Judge to participate in the Home Run Derby and if history means anything, he’ll be just fine.