New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge says he’s probably one-and-done with the Home Run Derby after winning it last year.
Judge won the Home Run Derby last year, becoming just the fourth Yankee and the first rookie to win the derby. However, he thinks that he’s one and done after winning it last year.
“I’m the Home Run Derby champion,” he told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. “It was a cool experience and I enjoyed it all, but I don’t think I really need to go out there and do it again. I’ve won it once.”
Last year Judge had an injured left shoulder which he had surgery on in the offseason. When asked if the injury was part of the reason for not wanting to participate in the derby, the slugger said that he couldn’t say.
“The Derby wasn’t even that big of a toll, to be honest,” he said, per Mike Mazzeo of the New York Daily News. “It was just like taking BP. It really wasn’t too taxing. I wasn’t trying to swing 110 percent. I was just taking 80-90 percent swings, just trying to make contact.”
Giancarlo Stanton supports the slugger’s decision to not participate in the derby.
“He shouldn’t be pressured into doing it if he doesn’t want to,” Stanton said, via Coley Harvey of ESPN. “He has plenty of years to do it. People forget the marathon of the season. That’s our one day off of the season.
Before the Home Run Derby a season ago, Judge was hitting .329 with 30 home runs and a 1.139 OPS. After the All-Star break though, he struggled mightily as he hit .195 with 14 home runs, 31 RBIs to go along with a.797 OPS. However, he found his swing in the final five weeks of the regular season, hitting .311 with 15 home runs and 32 RBIs.
Judge ended last year with 52 home runs and 114 RBIs and was the American League Rookie of the Year. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has said that his job is to get as many Home Run Derby candidates as possible. We’ll have to wait and see how many Yankees will be in the Home Run Derby this year, but one thing for sure is Judge won’t be one of them.