As Aaron Judge’s home run onslaught accelerated, his batting average crept up. Now, he’s closing in on even more history.
Aaron Judge is putting up one of the greatest single statistical seasons in Major League Baseball history, and one of the best contract years in the history of sports. His big bet on himself could lead to the biggest free agency jackpot we’ve seen in quite some time, but he has some business to take care of first.
With 59 home runs, the New York Yankees‘ outfielder is threatening Roger Maris’s single-season American League home run record of 61, bringing us to the point of the season where every at-bat becomes a must-watch. Where every plate appearance gets an MLB Network live cut-in. Where we drop everything to get a chance to witness something historic. It’s a rarity in sports, but you know it when you see it.
Only Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle had a position player WAR of 10.5 or higher in a single Yankees season. Judge, the likely AL MVP, is at 9.6 and climbing, putting him even closer to one of the great seasons in the team’s storied history. Since the AL launched in 1901, only nine hitters have won the Triple Crown and Judge has a really good chance at making it an even 10.
Chicks dig the long ball, but nerds dig the Triple Crown (or something like that). More people should be talking about how Judge has combined a .316 average with his massive power — a rarity in today’s game. The home run race was over faster than a Usain Bolt race in his prime, with Houston Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez way behind Judge with 37 dingers. The RBI race is done and dusted, with the Cleveland Guardians’ Jose Ramirez 14 behind his insane 127.
Batting average is where things get interesting. It’s a three-way race at the top for the batting title, with the Minnesota Twins’ Luis Arraez in the lead with a .317 clip going into Tuesday’s games, Boston’s Xander Boegarts and Judge are close behind, tied at .316. White Sox vet Jose Abreu is within striking distance at .309, with Texas’s Nate Lowe at .308.
Judge’s average is currently the highest it’s been since he was at .325 on May 23. He’s batting a super-saiyanesque .374 since the All-Star break and a Triple Play Baseball 2001-like .491 in September. And that’s to go with a hefty lead in the other offensive Triple Crown, on-base percentage (.419), slugging percentage (.701), and OPS (1.120). Not to mention leading the AL with 122 runs and swiping 15 bases to go with it.
People are going to focus on the home runs, and rightfully so. But let’s not forget his Triple Crown case. After wins at the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, he’s rounding the home stretch at Belmont. We’ll all be watching to see whether he not only bests Maris (and maybe takes a run at the steroid era folks) but takes the Triple Crown in the process.