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Yankees 2014 Roster Report Card: Aaron Judge

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The Yankees' slugging outfield prospect kept right on hitting between two levels in 2014. What's next for Judge?

Leon Halip

Grade: A

2014 Statistics: .333/.428/.530 w/ 9 home runs in 65 games for Low-A Charleston. .283/.411/.442 w/ 8 home runs in 66 games for High-A Tampa

2014 Level/Roster Status: High-A/Non 40-man

Aaron Judge likely had the best season of The Big Three first rounders selected by the Yankees in 2013. The tall outfielder started his season at Low-A Charleston, where he clubbed 15 doubles with nine home runs on his way to a .400+ on-base percentage. The Yankees felt like Judge was ready for the next challenge at a higher level, promoting him to High-A Tampa around the All-Star break. Judge's batting average and slugging percentage dipped a bit upon promotion, but he kept right on finding a way to get on base enough to maintain his better than .400 OBP. That's a huge achievement.

Judge swing

@PSA_GIFs

Looking at Judge, you'd assume that the 6'7" right-hander might be the next in the long line of Yankee giant pitchers. His frame certainly lets you dream on the power potential that his bat may be able to provide. He's only 22 years old, meaning that there is still time for his power stroke to really develop. If we have a more powerful Judge to look forward to, that should make Yankees fans very happy. Even without overwhelming home run power in 2014, his offense was well above average with a 167 and 149 wRC+ at Charleston and Tampa, respectively.

The Yankees obviously have two longer contracts already tied up in the outfield with Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner, but that leaves Judge's usual right field open for the outfield prospect to claim when he is ready in maybe a year and a half or so. The fact that Judge has drawn such praise may give the Yankees enough confidence not to seek out another long term contract for the outfield that may block Judge's progression. That spot may have previously been thought to be for Slade Heathcott, Tyler Austin, or Mason Williams, and we all know how that worked out. Not to say that Judge will suffer the same fate, just that dreaming too far into the future with prospects is never the best idea. It's also very safe to say that Judge has passed those guys in the pecking order of top outfielder in the system. The Yankees could get aggressive with the college draftee and start him at Double-A in 2015. That would presumably put him on track to possibly crack the majors by early to mid 2016, if everything breaks the right way.