Any way you slice it, Yankees slugger Aaron Judge had himself a banner year in 2022. Just look at his list of personal accomplishments:
- Set the American League single-season home run record
- Won the 2022 AL MVP Award
- Put together one of the most dominant all-around offensive seasons we’ve ever seen
- Secured the richest contract in Yankees history
- Earned the highest annual average value ever by a position player
- Named the 16th captain in franchise history
Yea, that’s one helluva year. Judge nearly took home the Triple Crown while posting a 207 wRC+ and 11.4 fWAR. So, it’s obvious that he was dominant in just about every situation imaginable in 2022. But it looks even more jaw-dropping when you break it down by the types of pitches he faced.
Judge saw seven different pitches at least 70 times this past season. In the order of frequency, this included: sliders, four-seam fastballs, sinkers, changeups, cutters, curveballs, and splitters. The only pitch he didn’t post at least a 141 wRC+ against was splitters. He saw that offering just 70 times and produced a 72 wRC+ against it.
That’s easy to overlook upon seeing the damage he did elsewhere, though. Judge hit just one homer off cutters and none on splitters. He hit at least five dingers against each of the other five pitches, though. Here’s the breakdown:
- four-seamers: 22
- sliders: 17
- sinkers: 12
- changeups: 5
- curveballs: 5
He’s never experienced a year in which he slugged at least five homers against five different pitches. Judge has also never experienced a year in which he slugged double-digit homers against three different pitches. The closest he came was his 2017 Rookie of the Year campaign. During that season, he slugged 24 homers against four-seamers and 11 against sinkers.
What really stands out to me, though, is his slugging percentage against each of these offerings. Judge finished with a .686 slugging percentage overall. So, you know some of these numbers had to be pretty high. It’s still just damn impressive.
Judge’s slugging percentage against changeups (.436), cutters (.432), and splitters (.143) aren’t anything worth writing home about. His numbers against the remaining pitches we’ve been talking about sure are, though. The outfielder’s slugging percentage was at least .700 against the other four offerings. Three of them finished at .800 or better (four-seamer, sinker, and curveball). The best of all was his slugging percentage against curveballs, which checked in at .828.
The reigning AL MVP produced a 43.5% fly-ball rate in 2022. That’s the highest mark in a full season in his career, nearly out-pacing the 43.2% mark he produced in 2017. This seems high, but it ranked just outside the top 30 among qualified hitters this past year. That’s mighty impressive for a guy who hit 62 home runs.
He knew how to make the most of those opportunities, and the proof is in the pudding. Judge posted a 500 wRC+ on fly balls this past year. Entering 2022, his career high was 388. This included new career-high marks in OPS (2.136) and Isolated Power (1.171). His soft-hit rate (7.5%) and hard-hit rate (57.5%) for this batted-ball event were among the best in his career, as well.
Like we said before — you can look at Judge’s season-long stats and just know he dominated in every way imaginable. But it still doesn’t take away from how crazy these numbers are upon looking at them a little deeper.