Thursday, June 20, 2024

The Yankees have their superstar slugger back

Must read

Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

The early part of the regular season was unexpectedly disappointing for Yankees‘ star slugger Aaron Judge. Following the formation of a promising duo with Juan Soto at the top of the order, expectations were high for a spectacular showing.

Judge’s Slow Start and Rapid Turnaround

In April, Judge had a month he’d rather forget, batting just .220 with a .361 on-base percentage and a .450 slugging percentage, including six home runs and 17 RBIs. By his high standards, particularly after his MVP-winning 2022 season, these figures were underwhelming.

However, Judge has since regained his exceptional form, adjusting his season statistics to an impressive .255/.386/.540, with 11 home runs, 29 RBIs, a 24.2% strikeout rate, a 16.7% walk rate, and a 163 wRC+. His resurgence was not a question of if, but when.

May 3, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Judge (99) gestures to fans after the Yankees defeated the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
May 3, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Judge (99) gestures to fans after the Yankees defeated the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees Needed Their MVP Back

Judge’s revival was on full display as he helped the Yankees secure a victory over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday. He contributed four hits and totaled 10 bases, including two RBIs and a monumental solo home run in the first inning that traveled 467 feet into the third deck at Target Field. This performance is a reminder of the dominant Aaron Judge that fans and the team expect.

Despite batting only .243 with runners in scoring position, Judge has maintained a .420 on-base percentage, indicating a high number of walks, which suggests his batting average in these situations is poised to improve. As he hits his stride, the Yankees are increasingly relying on the formidable pairing of Judge and Soto, rather than the lower half of their order, to propel the team’s offense.

In addition to his offensive prowess, Judge has also been performing well defensively in center field this season. Over 308.2 innings, he has maintained a perfect fielding percentage with one defensive run saved and one out above average. Although the long-term plan is to move Judge back to a corner outfield spot to better preserve his health, he has embraced the challenge of playing center field and has excelled in this role.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees, aaron judge
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

With Judge and Soto both in exceptional form, the Yankees have seen a notable improvement in their performance, winning four of their last five games and nearing a series sweep against the Twins. As Judge continues to excel, the Yankees are optimistic about their prospects for the season, supported by his leadership and exceptional skills on both offense and defense.

Latest article