Just the other day, the Yankees promoted catcher/DH/right fielder Peter O'Brien from the High-A Tampa Yankees to the Double-A Trenton Thunder. As Andrew wrote yesterday, the promotion of the former University of Miami Hurricane was very much-deserved. He absolutely mashed Florida State League pitching. There is another young slugger the Yankees have, however, in Aaron Judge, who could be next to get a promotion.
While he's not hitting to an unworldly 1.040 OPS like O'Brien did with Tampa, Judge has more than held his own with the Low-A Charleston RiverDogs. Last year's 32nd overall pick in the MLB Draft has so far has hit .309/.412/.436 in 31 games with Charleston. While the overall power (.127 ISO, 3 home runs), may not jump off the page, Judge actually has improved those power numbers as the season has gone on.
Through the first 12 games of the season, Judge didn't record an extra-base hit for the RiverDogs, hitting .295/.426/.295 to start his pro career. In the 19 games to follow, though, Judge has posted a .318/.403/.530 line, with much more respectable power numbers (.212 ISO, 3 HRs). While watching Judge live and in-person a few weeks ago, ESPN's Keith Law said that Judge is "quite short to the ball, with good hip rotation and loft in his finish for line-drive power." At the same time, when Judge does get a hold of one, it can go a long, long way, as shown by last night's homer and his first homer this year.
Judge's assignment to Charleston instead of Tampa to start the season probably had to do with the fact that he was unable to get his feet wet last season (like Eric Jagielo was able to) due to a quad injury he suffered after officially signing with the Yankees. Although he had some polish coming in, it made sense for Judge to start in an easier environment like the South Atlantic League, rather than jumping straight to the FSL. Now that he's shown he can handle Sally League pitching, however, it may be just about time for Judge to join his 2013 draft-mate in Tampa and see if he can advance from there.