Last year, it was all or nothing for the New York Yankees Aaron Judge. This year? Things are incredibly different for Judge and it’s made him a more legitimate threat.
Coming off a historic rookie campaign, Aaron Judge entered his second full season with great expectations from the New York Yankees and their fans. I mean, once you smash 52 home runs in your first year, you set a precedent for yourself in the years to come.
Many don’t believe he will be able to replicate those numbers because pitchers are starting to figure him out. Clearly they are, seeing as how he’s batting .305 on the season (sarcasm, my friends).
32 games into the season and Judge has eight home runs. Last season at the same point, Judge had 14 home runs and 29 RBI. He’s not quite on the same pace but what he’s doing this year might be even more special.
Aaron Judge last year was an absolute phenomenon. The young kid came up and smashed home runs but struck out half the time. This year? He’s learning how to better control his swing, lining hard-hit singles and doubles instead of swinging for the fences with every single pitch.
Judge is going with the pitches instead of trying to pull the ball out of the ballpark. In fact, in his 32 games this year he has eight doubles when he had just four at this point last season.
If he’s not averaging home runs every few at-bats, how does that make him a more dangerous player? Because he might not be hitting it out of the park but he can still get hits…hits that are setting up the rest of the red-hot Yankees lineup. He just can’t get out.
This season has seen a huge improvement in Aaron Judge’s plate discipline. He already has eight more walks this season than he did at this point in 2017. He has been laying off of pitches both in the dirt and outside the zone, which he was unable to do last season.
A prime example is on Friday night against the Cleveland Indians at the Stadium. Judge found himself up with the bases loaded and a tie game in the bottom of the eighth inning. Time for a home run, right? Aaron Judge didn’t get a home run pitch to hit and laid off some tempting pitches to earn himself a walk and an RBI.
In the past, the free-swinging Judge would have chased ball four to end the inning. The newly improved Judge didn’t even flinch at the pitch that ducked out of the strike zone.
That isn’t the only example of such discipline. And just the fact that his presence at the plate and discipline has improved goes to show just how much more dangerous he is.
How would you as a pitcher like to face a player who can easily smoke a 400-plus foot home run, crush a booming double, take the ball the other way for a sharp single or work a walk. Either way, Aaron Judge is getting on base with his new approach and it makes the Yankees lineup even more dangerous.
While the season is young, Aaron Judge could certainly continue to heat up when it comes to home runs but do we really want that? While home runs are awesome, especially when hit by Judge, the Yankees can’t afford for him to become all or nothing once again.
The way Aaron Judge is going, he has the opportunity to become even more terrifying to his opponents. With so many more weapons in his arsenal, Judge is poised to have an even better season.
Who could’ve imagined that?