All rise for New York’s newest major-league star. Actually, “star” might be an understatement.
Aaron Judge is more of a comet, or a meteor, or a supernova, given his swift rise to prominence in Major League Baseball.
The 6-foot-7 mountain donned in Yankee pinstripes has made pitchers around the league and the baseballs they hurl quiver in fear because of his sheer power.
After yet another bomb on Wednesday night against the Toronto Blue Jays, the 25-year-old made history, becoming the youngest major leaguer ever to hit 13 home runs in his team’s first 26 games:
It came one night after hitting a pair of dingers that put him at 12 home runs through 25 games. In Yankees franchise history, only Alex Rodriguez had more (14) in the first 25 games of the 2007 season.
The 12 were also as many as Babe Ruth recorded in 1921, which proved to be the best start of a 25-game stretch in his mythical career. He hit 59 home runs that year, breaking his previous MLB record of 54 in 1920.
At the pace he is on right now, which he can’t possibly maintain, Judge will hit 81 home runs this season.
That’s a ludicrous number, like Barry Bonds’ 73, that might never be touched again.
But is 60 in the realm of possibilities? It most certainly could be.
His ability to muscle the ball in all directions is staggering at times. He makes contact with such force that we have seen some obscene exit velocities off his bat.
A home run off Baltimore Orioles starter Kevin Gausman had an exit velocity of 119.4 mph, the fastest speed recorded during Major League Baseball’s statcast era.
That kind of strength alone in Yankee Stadium could very well get him at least near the 50 home run mark.
It’s going to get to a point in which the opposition just decides to pitch around Judge, at least at home.
Of his first 13 home runs, 10 of them came in 14 home games. He has three in 11 games on the road.
The impending return of Gary Sanchez will also affect Judge’s home run output if the catcher can recreate his magical spell from last season.
Having the two of them in the middle of the Yankees lineup is as about imposing as it gets, but it’s likely that only one of them will get something legitimate to hit each time through the lineup.
And this could just be a case of Judge being on a scorching hot streak. He was greeted with a ton of adversity upon his MLB debut last season and he had problems dealing with it.
In 27 games, he hit just .179 with four home runs, 10 RBI and 42 strikeouts. If his bat were to fall into a lull like it did last year, no one is sure if it would derail his season.