This time last year, a lot of people were pretty down on Aaron Judge. The big outfielder arrived in the Bronx with a bang, homering in his first at-bat, but racked up a lot of strike outs and not a lot of hits as the season came to a close. There was a very real chance he was going to start the 2017 season in Triple-A to figure out his issues.
Judge earned himself the starting right field job in spring training, and the rest is, as they say, history. Literally. He made history. What an incredible season it was for Judge. His first half statistics rivaled any numbers the very best in baseball history have put up in a tear that most of us will likely never forget. Homer after long homer, he marched toward (and eventually surpassed) Mark McGwire’s rookie home run record.
On a summer night in Miami Judge defied the laws of physics by hitting the roof of Marlins Park multiple times during the home run derby, a feat that NASA said should have been impossible. Judge broke Statcast in Seattle, leaving one of his largest blasts of the year hilariously under-measured. He hit a ball nearly 500 feet in Yankee Stadium.
Deservedly so, Judge has already been named the unanimous Rookie of the Year for the American League. His numbers are better than Jose Altuve’s in almost every category, giving him a decent chance of bringing home the MVP award later this week. It feels like everyone is setting up for the award to go to Altuve, and it might, but don’t count out Judge just yet. He’s an exceedingly deserving candidate.
Whether or not Judge brings home the big hardware, his season was one that we will never forget. Judge proved that he can come back after tremendous slumps and look just as good as he did when everything was going right, painting a bright picture of things ahead. His success was not a flash in the pan, it was just a sign of great things to come.