The Next Big Thing

Tom Rodenburg, Staff Writer

Back in the 2013 MLB draft, the Yankees drafted a six-foot seven outfielder out of California State University, who had a combination of power, range, and speed. This man’s name was Aaron Judge. Since then, Judge has bombarded minor league pitchers, hitting 400 foot home runs, and stealing hits away from players with great catches in the outfield. Throughout his three years in the minor leagues, Judge hit 56 home runs, drove in 215 runs, carried a batting average of .278, and maintained a fielding percentage in the high .900s. He accomplished all of this while rising through the ranks of the Yankees farm system, becoming one of the most prized prospects in all of baseball.

On the 13th of August last season, Judge made his debut for the Yankees and quickly made a huge impression. In his first major league at bat, Judge hit a home run, then followed it up the next day with another one – after that, however, it was all downhill. He continued to swing, missing at almost every pitch he saw, his average dropped below .200, and he would only hit another two home runs for the last 25 games that season. He ended almost 45% of his bats with a strikeout last season, and people were just about ready to write him off as yet another top prospect turned into a nobody.

Just days before the start of the 2017 season, though, Aaron Judge was named the opening day starter for the Yankees, batting eighth in the lineup. He started off slow this year, going 2-12 in the opening series with just one RBI, but was able to turn his career around once the Yankees showed up in Baltimore. He went 0-3 the first game and sat out the second, but as for the third game, he went 2-4, even hitting his first home run of the season. Once the Yankees came home to the Bronx, Judge went off, landing home run after home run, and is currently the bright spot of the Yankees organization, now sitting at first in all of baseball in home runs with 13, upholding a batting average of .330. His glove is better than ever right now, as he has not committed an error all season.

Judge has now been moved up in the lineup, and is featured in the 3-hole most of the time. Though it is still early, he is making strides as one of the hottest up-and-coming players in baseball and will be making a strong bid at the Rookie of the Year race. This is going to be an exciting year for not only Judge, but the New York Yankees, as well.

* photo via Google Images under the Creative Commons license