Judge's Prestige Continues to Grow

Not many things are bigger than you when you’re six foot seven but one thing has surpassed Aaron Judge’s Goliath stature. What I speak of is his prestige after last night’s home run derby. (I’ll refrain from calling it his legend this early in his career)

It’s no surprise to anyone that Judge won the 2017 Home Run Derby last night in Miami but the manner in which he did so made his feat all the more impressive. Judge came into the competition as one of the favorites along with defending champion and hometown hero Giancarlo Stanton. Many expected him to face Stanton in a mouth watering final. However, unfortunate as it may be, it was a final that never ended up materializing. Judge’s teammate, Gary Sanchez, saw to that with an impressive first round performance of his own which saw Stanton vanquished 17-16. (I wonder if Logan Morrison still thinks Sanchez didn’t belong in the Derby? But I digress.)

As impressive of a head-to-head match up as the Stanton-Sanchez showdown turned out to be, the real fireworks started during the last match up of the first round; Judge v Justin Bour. Bour, the Miami Marlins, first baseman came in as a big underdog but hitting in his home ballpark had the full backing of the Miami faithful. Bour put on a show for the ages with a 22 home run round, in which he littered right field with bomb after bomb. Bour and the crowd were pumped. His epic round even including him being fed a doughnut by the aforementioned Stanton during his timeout. Judge looked to be in trouble before he even stepped into the batter’s box.

Unfortunately for Bour, he was matched up against the only man in the building better than him on this night. Judge calmly stepped into the box and court was in session. What felt like a myriad of home runs of different varieties followed. Judge hit hard line drives, long towering bombs, and even poked a few balls out to right field. He even hit one off the closed roof of the stadium. A gargantuan feat. When the dust had finally cleared the verdict favored Judge who had dispatched of fan favorite Bour 23-22.

Judge met fellow rookie sensation Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers in the semifinals. The presumed AL Rookie of the Year was able to beat his NL counterpart 13-12 to move to the final. In the final Judge was matched against Twins slugger Miguel Sano. Truth be told the seemingly fatigued Sano had no chance when he was only able to put up a "paltry" 10 dingers. Judge was able to get to the winning number of 11 homers with plenty of time remaining to claim the title. There's no telling how many more he would've hit if he stayed in the box for the full four minutes plus bonus time.

I don't know if many watching in the stadium or on TV were necessarily surprised by his comeback from down 22 but many were certainly left awestruck. On the night Judge hit a total of 47 home runs with the longest soaring 513 feet. All rose for Judge, including fellow All-Stars who were just as awestruck as the fans throughout his impressive night. When the Judge enters his chambers (the batter’s box) there has been no limit to what he can do.

After winning the derby Judge continued to display a maturity beyond his years. He was sure to include his BP pitcher Danilo Valiente when he lifted his trophy and followed by giving a very modest interview. He carries himself in a way that reminds many of a young Derek Jeter. This is an attribute which will only bode well for him in the years to come. His on the field success coupled with this personality has many starting to call Judge one of the new faces of baseball. Only time will tell where Judge’s career will go in the coming years but all signs seem to point to success. As the days pass his prestige only continues to grow. All rise because the Judge's court is in session.

This post originally appeared on my Blogger page on 7/11/17

Aaron Judge's Prestige Continues to Grow

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