Is there a better power hitter in baseball right now than Yankees slugger Aaron Judge? The answer to that question is probably not. That’ll happen when you’re the reigning AL MVP Award winner and fresh off a 62-homer campaign.
Even with a stint on the Injured List earlier this year, Judge is still among the league leaders in home runs. As he rests before the Yankees take on the Dodgers Friday night, his 18 homers are tops in the AL and second in MLB, trailing only Mets slugger Pete Alonso (20). Among the players in the top 10 heading into Thursday’s action, nobody has played in fewer games than Judge. He’s suited up for 47.
It remains to be seen if he’ll match or get close to the 62 he slugged in 2022. But with the way things are going, reaching the half-century mark for the third time in his career is a distinct possibility.
After failing to surpass the 30-homer plateau in the three years following his historic 2017 Rookie of the Year performance, Judge finally did so in 2021 with 39 dingers. Shortly after the Yankees were eliminated by the Boston Red Sox in the AL Wild Card Game that year, he was back in the lab working on his swing.
You can get a glimpse of his workout in the below video from Teacherman Hitting. My favorite part comes at the 2:15 mark when he predicted another 50-homer campaign in 2022:
He obviously made good on that promise. What’s also great to see is how someone in his position is finding ways to improve. Did he necessarily need to be doing tee work with a hitting instructor after nearly enjoying a 40-homer campaign? Probably not, but this is the kind of stuff that makes a big difference. His jump in performance from 2021 to 2022 is proof of that.
We can be sure Judge was doing more of this even after breaking the AL single-season home run record last October. Heck, we know he’s been periodically picking Paul Goldschmidt’s brain to improve his two-strike approach, as well.
This is what separates the good players from the great ones. So far, it seems to be paying off for Aaron Judge. We’ll see what heights his work ethic will help him reach in 2023.