Since being called up late last season, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez have not only been the talk of the town in New York, but they have been celebrated throughout the baseball world. Judge opened eyes by exhibiting his monster power when he homered in his first MLB plate appearance. Sanchez had a very productive two months, finishing second in the Rookie of the Year voting.
Judge survived a high strikeout rate last year and won a spring-training competition with Aaron Hicks for the starting right-fielder job. He has since emerged as the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year Award, while competing for both MVP honors and the Triple Crown.
In 70 games this season, Judge is hitting .328, with 26 home runs and 58 runs batted in. He leads the majors in home runs. He is third in the AL in batting average and tied for first in runs batted in. He also leads the league in walks (45), total bases (179), on-base percentage (.434), slugging average (.699), and OPS (1.133).
The Baby Bomber has wowed fans all season long with his spectacular home runs. Judge hit a 495-foot homer on June 11th against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium, the longest measured by Statcast this year. He also holds the top four marks for exit velocity in 2017, with the highest being 121.1 miles per hour.
Judge has also dramatically improved his strikeout rate and strikeout-to-walk rate. Last season he struck out 42 times in 95 plate appearances (44.2%). This year he has struck out 92 times in 304 plate appearances (30.2%). Last season he had only nine walks to go with his 42 strikeouts (21.4%), while this season he has walked 45 times versus 92 strikeouts (48.9%).
The young right fielder has impressed with his defense, frequently showing off his range and arm. In short, Aaron Judge has done everything right. And the fans have recognized him for it.
At last check, Judge led AL players in All-Star votes, and he holds a decisive margin over the other top outfielders. When the final tally is in, Judge will become just the sixth Yankees' position player ever to make the All-Star team as a rookie. He follows in the footsteps of Joe DiMaggio (1936), Bobby Richardson (1957), Tom Tresh (1962), Willie Randolph (1976), and Hideki Matsui (2003).
Gary Sanchez has also come on strong in the All-Star voting of late, but he will need more help from fans in order to join his teammate at the midsummer classic on July 11th in Miami. He is currently in third place among American League catchers, less than 5,000 votes behind former teammate Brian McCann. Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez is in first place. While a second place finish will not guarantee "The Kraken" a spot on the team, it will certainly help his case. Surpassing Perez in the voting will, of course, guarantee Sanchez the starting nod. He certainly deserves it.
Since being called up on August 3rd of last year, Sanchez is hitting .299, with 32 home runs and 76 runs batted in. That's in only 96 games.
Sanchez burst on the scene in 2016 with a late-season performance not accomplished by a rookie since Hall of Famer Willie McCovey. After being called up on July 30th, McCovey hit .354, belted 13 home runs and drove in 38 runs, in route to winning the 1959 National League Rookie of the Year Award. Sanchez hit .299, with 20 home runs and 42 runs batted in, during his abbreviated rookie campaign.
Despite missing nearly a month due to injury earlier this season, Sanchez is putting up big numbers again. In 44 games this year, he is hitting .299 with 12 home runs and 34 runs batted in. He trails only Perez for the most home runs (15) among catchers in MLB, despite playing in 23 fewer games. Sanchez also boasts a .382 on-base percentage, .549 slugging average, and .931 OPS.
The young catcher has also earned praise for his defense. Pitchers like his signal calling, and Sanchez routinely guns out runners trying to steal.
Sanchez and Judge are not the only Yankees vying for spots on the 2017 All-Star team. Starlin Castro is in second place in the voting for second basemen, Matt Holliday is in second place among designated hitters, and Didi Gregorius sits in third among shortstops.
Fan voting ends at 11:59 PM EDT on Thursday, June 29th. You can vote up to five times every 24 hours (up to a total of 35 ballots). Click here to vote.