The tale of the tape told a different story for Aaron Judge from the end of July to the beginning of August. His most recent 10-game stretch started with him going 1-for-22 over the first five games, but he picked it up a bit by going 6-for-26, including two extra-base hits during those last five games.
What went wrong for Judge? To start, his strikeout and walk rates went in a bad direction. Out of 22 at-bats, he struck out eight times, walking just once. To make matters worse, his slash line was .045/.087/.091 with an OPS of .178. He was virtually an automatic out over those rough five games.
Although he recorded just one hit, Judge also may have been getting a bit unlucky. His BABIP was a mere .071, but his average exit velocity during that span was 96.5 mph. To his own doing, however, he chased around 27% of pitches out of the zone, leading to him striking out 34.8% of the time. Judge struggled mightily, especially against Boston. Pitchers like Rick Porcello, Edwardo Rodriguez, and Chris Sale had his number.
It was different, however, the second time around. From July 31-August 5, he got back to being the Judge we know. He’s slashed .318/.444/.545 over his last six games, including a 165 wRC+. On top of that, he now owns a six game hitting-streak.
His BABIP skyrocketed from .071 to .500! Judge has an average exit velocity of 97.8 mph in 2019. That tops in the majors, and is the highest of his career. When asked about the change in his approach to get out of this funk, Judge said to Dan Martin, “I feel good with the changes, it just takes a couple of days to come into effect. I hope this road trip in Baltimore, we start seeing some results.” Those adjustments have seemed to help. After playing one game in Camden Yards, the Yankee slugger went 1-for 3-with a double and two walks.
Yes, he will go through slumps like every major-leaguer does, but he hits the ball so hard that these drop-offs in performance will never really be prolonged. When he does fall into a slump, there’s not much to worry about knowing that he’ll snap out rather quickly. Good things happen to players who hit the ball as hard as Judge does. With the injury bug being passed from player-to-player, and the Yanks nearing the final stretch, it’s a good time for the big man to get hot.