New York Yankees rookie slugger Aaron Judge might be in the middle of a rough stretch, but that shouldn’t take away from what he was able to accomplish during the first half. Though Judge’s numbers are still less than ideal lately, he managed to break a rookie record during Sunday’s game.
Throughout Judge’s struggles, he’s still maintained strong plate discipline. During his first plate appearance Sunday, Judge picked up his 107th walk of the season. That set a rookie record.
Aaron Judge: 107th walk, setting the MLB record for a rookie
— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) September 10, 2017
Maybe you don’t get excited about walks, but the accomplishment is pretty impressive. Few players show that level of patience at such a young age.
It’s also the one thing keeping Judge’s numbers afloat in the second half. The 25-year-old was hitting just .182/.346/.365 coming into Sunday’s contest. While his average is terrible, his on-base percentage over his past 52 games matches what Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger has done all season. Even when Judge is slumping terribly, he can still be a productive hitter.
The Yankees would prefer to see that batting average rise, and Judge did give them some reason to hope he’s digging his way out of this awful stretch. Judge drove in a run on a sacrifice fly during his next plate appearance, and then mashed his 40th home run of the season in the fourth inning. Two innings later, he hit No. 41.
That puts him in some pretty strong company.
Another one: he's also the youngest #Yankees hitter to reach the mark since Mickey Mantle in 1956 (52 HRs, age 24)
— Sung Min Kim (@sung_minkim) September 10, 2017
The Yankees control their own future, as they sit in the top spot in the American League wild card race. If the team hopes to make noise in the postseason, they’ll need Judge to get back on track.
He doesn’t have to be anywhere near as good as he was in the first half to give the Yankees value. Given his skill set, Judge only needs to hit .250 to make a huge impact. He may have taken a big step toward getting back to that level Sunday.
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