Aaron Judge sets another home run record, wins second AL Player of the Week

Yankees captain Aaron Judge
Inna Zeyger
Tuesday June 11, 2024

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New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge continues to carve his name into the annals of baseball history, belting three home runs against the Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend. These homers propelled Aaron Judge to 281 career home runs over his nine MLB seasons, setting a new benchmark for the most home runs by a player through their first 1,000 games, as noted by MLB stats expert Sarah Langs.

Aaron Judge eclipsed the previous record held by Ryan Howard, who hit 279 home runs in his first 1,000 games. His accomplishment is even more remarkable given that he achieved this in just 902 games, nearly 100 fewer than Howard required. The Yankees slugger will not reach his 1,000th regular-season game until at least 2025.

This record-setting feat is the latest in a series of impressive achievements for Aaron Judge, who went 10-for-20 with three homers, three doubles, and 12 RBIs over six games from June 3-9. His outstanding performance earned him the American League Player of the Week award, as announced by the league on Monday, marking his second time receiving the honor in three weeks.

Aaron Judge remains MLB leader in HRs

As of Sunday, he led all MLB hitters in home runs (24), on-base percentage (.436), slugging percentage (.703), and OPS (1.139). For context, during his MVP-winning 2022 season, in which he set an AL single-season record with 62 home runs, Aaron Judge posted a .425 on-base percentage, a .686 slugging percentage, and a 1.111 OPS.

New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge watches the ball go into the stands for a home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, June 9, 2024, in New York.
AP Photo/Noah K. Murray

Over his last 40 games through Sunday, the slugger had delivered an exceptional slash line of .399/.520/.957, accumulating 20 home runs, 15 doubles, and a triple during that span.

Aaron Judge, now in the second year of his nine-year, $360 million contract with the New York Yankees, continues to demonstrate his elite performance on the field. The slugger’s stellar play earned him the AL Player of the Month award for May after posting a remarkable .361/.479/.918 slash line and hit 14 home runs in 28 games.

Aaron Judge’s recent surge followed a sluggish start to the season, where he batted .197 with six home runs through May 2. After a 3-for-4 performance in Sunday’s 6-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers, his batting average climbed to a season-high .305.

Reflecting on his performance, Aaron Judge noted the ebb and flow of the game, emphasizing that baseball is about averages and not getting bogged down by early-season struggles.

“It’s a game of averages, so it’s gonna go up, it’s gonna go down,” the Yankees’ captain said on Sunday. “You can’t sit there and look at it, because if I sat there and looked at what it was in April, then I probably wouldn’t be where I’m at today.”

Aaron Judge, who has primarily batted in the No. 2 spot for most of his career, shifted to the third position in the lineup following the offseason acquisition of Juan Soto. Soto, with a .424 on-base percentage and a 1.027 OPS, ranked second in the majors behind him as they entered this week’s four-game series in Kansas City. Batting behind Soto and leadoff hitter Anthony Volpe, who saw his 34-game on-base streak end Sunday, has given Judge ample opportunities to hit with runners on base.

New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge celebrates after reaching third base on a two-run triple against the Minnesota Twins on June 5, 2024, in New York
NYY

At 32, Aaron Judge has made history as the first MLB player with at least 24 home runs and 21 doubles through his team’s first 67 games. He is also the third Yankee to record 46 extra-base hits in the team’s first 67 games, joining Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, who each accomplished the feat twice.

As of Sunday, Judge led the AL with 21 doubles, ranking second in the majors, and had reached base in 35 consecutive games, including nine straight with multiple on-base appearances. But his focus is on continuous improvement, making adjustments, and consistently getting on base to drive in runs for the team.

“We’ve got to keep improving, got to keep making adjustments, and honestly the biggest thing is [to] just keep getting on base. Keep getting on base, driving guys in.”

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