Last Updated on October 2, 2023 at 9:10 am by Sara Molnick
In Aaron Judge‘s inaugural year as Yankees captain, he has taken a hands-on role in assessing the team’s inner workings. As the season wraps up, the captain has spotted troubling signs within the player sphere that demand remediation. Keenly observant of the group dynamics and culture, Aaron Judge has pinpointed issues requiring solutions.
“I think it’s just about how we use [analytics] and how we value them is an aspect that we just maybe need to look at again,” he said on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium,. “The Yankees are top-notch in the numbers we get. I think we’re the best in the game at that. I think it’s about funneling those down to the players in the right format.
“ … I wouldn’t say [we are] overloaded. I think it’s just looking at the right numbers. I think maybe we might be looking at the wrong ones. We need to value some other ones that people might see as having no value.”
While Aaron Judge did not specify which statistics he was critiquing, he hinted at batting average being of concern when later discussing rookie Anthony Volpe. He remarked that no player is satisfied hitting mere .200. This comment implies the slugger feels chasing more traditional metrics like batting average should be emphasized, versus newer analytics-driven numbers.
In the wake of the Yankees missing the playoffs for the first time since 2016, team owner Hal Steinbrenner has vowed to thoroughly evaluate the organization. He promised to ask the difficult questions necessary to get the club back on a championship trajectory. Aaron Judge’s critique of relying too heavily on analytics seems aligned with Steinbrenner’s objective of reassessing the franchise’s approach in order to ignite another successful era for the storied Yankees.
Ready to exert his influence as captain, Aaron Judge has formulated ideas to present to the organization about fixing faults and optimizing the player experience. His acute attention and willingness to voice critiques underscore his comprehensive stewardship of the team. By evaluating problems and proposing improvements, Judge aims to fulfill his captain duties beyond just on-field production as the season concludes.
“There’s some bigger picture ideas and philosophies that I think maybe need to change,” told Aaron Judge. “In here, I think a level of urgency and an understanding [is needed that] just because you get to the big leagues and you get to New York, you’ve still got to improve. You’ve still got to make adjustments. That’s what I think these extra four weeks will help guys figure out and get them on the right path.”
Aaron Judge’s plain speak
Before the season concluded with a 5-2 loss to the Royals, the Yankees captain acknowledged the quality of the analytics, information, and resources provided by the team. Aaron Judge suggested that the focus should be on how to use and value them effectively.
According to him, the Yankees excelled in obtaining numerical data, being among the best in the game in that regard. However, Aaron Judge also believed that there was a need to improve the way this information was conveyed to the players, emphasizing the importance of presenting it in the right format.
When questioned about whether players were receiving an excessive amount of information, Aaron Judge refrained from labeling it as “information overload.”
Aaron Judge suggested that the key was to focus on the appropriate statistics. He believed that they were currently examining a multitude of numbers but might be prioritizing the wrong ones. The Yankees captain expressed the need to consider other metrics that some might perceive as insignificant but were valuable when playing a full 162-game season and dealing with the daily grind. According to him, there were certain aspects of the game that couldn’t be quantified by numbers alone.
However, Aaron Judge opted not to delve into specific statistics, but it’s conceivable that one of them could be batting average, which has seen diminished importance in recent times in favor of metrics like OPS.
The Yankees concluded the season with a team batting average of .227, with Judge (.267) and Gleyber Torres (.273) being the sole regulars who surpassed the league average (.249 at the outset of Sunday).
The reigning AL MVP also stressed the need for improved health – Aaron Judge missed two months due to a torn ligament in his right big toe sustained from colliding with the outfield wall at Dodger Stadium – and emphasized the necessity for a heightened sense of urgency in the future.
Ready with a to-fix list for the Yankees
After inking a nine-year, $360 million deal with the Yankees just one offseason ago, Aaron Judge intends to meet with Steinbrenner shortly to convey his insights and recommendations for organizational enhancement.
Aaron Judge noted that there were certain developments during the year that had the potential to make individuals more aware. He expressed hope that the relevant individuals had taken notice and that the appropriate individuals would convene to address these matters and find solutions.
Aaron Judge seemed uncertain about what to anticipate from the independent assessment that Steinbrenner had previously informed the Associated Press about last month, indicating that the upcoming third-party audit left him with some uncertainty.
The slugger commented on the subject of numerical data, noting that interpretations could be influenced by how one manipulated the numbers to suit their perspective. Aaron Judge expressed uncertainty about what an independent company could provide in terms of insights, but he acknowledged that having another entity evaluate the data would offer an additional perspective and opinion.
Aaron Judge has consistently voiced his support for manager Aaron Boone, who has just one year remaining on his contract, and he continued to do so on the last day of the regular season.
The Yankees captain expressed his positive opinion about the manager, highlighting his ability to connect with the clubhouse. He mentioned the team’s successful seasons and the manager’s track record. According to Aaron Judge, the manager excelled at communication, holding players accountable, and addressing issues when necessary. He added that the manager had consistently performed well over the years and that he looked forward to a few more years working with him.
Regarding his confidence in the front office’s ability to acquire the right players, Aaron Judge mentioned that they needed to have faith in them because they were the individuals responsible for those decisions, stating, “We have to trust them, as they are our team’s decision-makers.”
Aaron Judge acknowledged that the individuals in the front office were the ones making significant decisions for the team. He emphasized the need for trust in their decision-making process, saying, “Those are the ones that are up there making the big decisions. We have to have faith in them.” However, he also noted his responsibility as a player to focus on his on-field performance and to ensure that the team was prepared and ready on a daily basis. Aaron Judge expressed confidence that if the front office brought in the right players, the team would take care of the rest.
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