Tracking Aaron Judge’s home runs: No. 65 seems possible, may go beyond

aaron-judge-ny-yankees

Table of Contents

Aaron Judge is the biggest MLB star this season. The power hitter hit two home runs against the Brewers on Sunday taking his homer tally to 59. He needs just two to equal Roger Maris who continues to lead the American League record in a single season for the last six decades.

The big hitter is a big believer in himself. Judge turned down an enticing seven-year contract offering $213.5 million and instead signed a one-year deal with the Yankees before the season starts. It was a brave choice, no doubt, and the slugger responded by doing something that seemed impossible. He is going to make more money in the coming season. Some players wouldn’t be able to handle it. But Judge hasn’t done that. He has done exceptionally well.

Aaron hit two home runs in a single game twice this week. The player also has the most walks, RBI, total bases, slugging percentage, OPS+, OPS, and the maximum number of runs this season. He is also the highest-ranking player in the FanGraphs and WARP.

Sixty-one remains a unique number since 1961. Maris’ son Kevin feels that Judge’s record chase has brought his dad “back in the public eye a little bit for his accolades in baseball.” He is also excited to see when Judge reaches his historic milestone and how far he goes. The Yankees expect the home-run record will convince the slugger to stay in New York.

Here are the MLB home run leaders as of Sept. 18:

Player

Team

Home Runs in 2022

Games Played

Aaron Judge

New York Yankees

59

142

Kyle Schwarber

Philadelphia Phillies

39

140

Yordan Alvarez

Houston Astros

37

122

Austin Riley

Atlanta Braves

36

144

Mike Trout

LA Angels

36

105

Judge is on track to hit 65 home runs this season. He has hit 59 home runs in 146 games (65.47 to be exact). Judge has kept up a home run pace that gives him a chance to not only hit 60 home runs but also to set a new American League single-season record.

Judge’s attempt to break Maris’ AL home run record has a lot of great symmetry to it. Maris, who died in 1985, hit 61 home runs in 1961, 61 years ago. He wore No. 9 as well. Judge’s number is 99. Also, on August 10, Judge hit the 203rd home run of his career. Maris hit 203 home runs with the Yankees.

During the All-Star Game, Aron was asked about his quest for the 60-homer club. He responded:

“I try not to, but people keep asking me that question. If it does happen, I might have a better answer by the end of the year. We can talk about it if I get to that point. It’s just so hard until then. We still have a long way to go. It’s hard to talk about since we’re only halfway there.”

The question is whether or not Judge can beat Maris’ record. Or just hit 60 home runs? Here are the facts about Aron Judge chasing Maris.

List of home runs in a single season

Before we go any further, I should say that in the history of MLB, only eight players have hit 60 home runs in a single season, and of those eight, six of them did it during the infamous “Steroid Era.” What we think Judge might do is not something that happens too often. Here are the eight years in which a team hit 60 home runs:

Player

Team

Year

Total Home Runs

Barry Bonds

San Francisco Giants

2001

73

Mark McGwire

St. Louis Cardinals

1998

70

Sammy Sosa

Chicago Cubs

1998

66

Mark McGwire

St. Louis Cardinals

1999

65

Sammy Sosa

Chicago Cubs

2001

64

Sammy Sosa

Chicago Cubs

1999

63

Roger Maris

New York Yankees

1961

61

Babe Ruth

New York Yankees

1927

60

Giancarlo Stanton was the last player in MLB to try to hit 60 home runs. In his 2017 NL MVP season, he went deep 59 times. That includes a crazy stretch where Stanton hit 30 home runs in 48 games. In 2006, when he was the NL MVP, Ryan Howard hit 58 home runs. Even in this age of home runs, Judge is one of the few players who have a real shot at hitting 60 home runs.

Aaron Judge is cut out for this. According to his manager Aaron Boone,

“I can’t think of someone more equipped to handle it. I think you can start at the start of this year with all the talk centered around the contract and how that’s affected him. He’s built for this. I think anything you throw at him, whether he gets to a number or doesn’t get to a number, I don’t think that the circumstances and the pressure is going to be a reason he does or doesn’t.”

What Judge needs to do the rest of this season

To tie Maris’ AL record, Judge needs to hit two home runs in the Yankees’ final 16 games; he needs three home runs to break the record and one to reach 60.

Here are the paces Judge needs to maintain to reach those milestone totals:

 

HR needed to reach the milestone

Games per HR

62 homers (new AL single-season record)

3

5.33

61 homers (ties Maris’ AL record)

2

8

60 homers (ninth 60-homer season ever)

1

16

Judge’s current pace

2.47

The factor of Yankee Stadium

Judge plays in the right ballpark for him to try to hit 60 home runs. Yankee Stadium is one of the ballparks in the major leagues where home runs are most likely to be hit, but Judge isn’t exactly adding to his total with short, cheap hits to right field porch. Statcast says that Judge has only hit two home runs this season that would have been homered at Yankee Stadium and only at Yankee Stadium: two 364-footer homers on June 15 and July 30.

Judge’s 200th home run in his career came against Heasley. He hit 200 home runs in his career in only 671 games, which is second-fewest after Ryan Howard (658).

Judge’s home run rate at home (one every 13.2 plate appearances) is higher than his home run rate in away games (one every 16.1 plate appearances). Judge can hit the ball out of any park. Still, if you want to hit 60 home runs, a few ones at Yankee Stadium are a must. Nine of the Yankees’ last 16 games will be at home.

What about Judge’s workload?

This is a big deal. There are still 16 games left for the Yankees, but Judge may not play in all of them. The Yankees have been very good at managing their players’ workloads for years, and they rarely change their rest schedule.

Judge hasn’t had a single day-to-day injury this season, and he’s started 139 of his team’s 146 games (he’s been a pinch-hitter four times). At the same rate, Judge would start 15 of New York’s last 16 games. Even if he only makes one less start, his chances of matching or beating Maris’ record will go down.

Even though they had a bad stretch, the Yankees are guaranteed to make the playoffs. Their ultimate goal is to win the World Series (Judge would tell you that), so they will do what they think is best to put the team in the best position for October. Still, they are aware of the home run chase and what it could mean for history, especially since it will bring in a lot of fans. How could the Yankees leave Aaron Judge at home in September?

The Yankees are sure to change their rest schedule to give Judge a good chance.

Do you agree with it? How many home runs Judge will get this season?

Related posts:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join the Pinstripes Nation!

Your Daily Dose of Yankees Magic Delivered to Your Inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Don't Miss Any of the Latest Yankees News, Rumors, and Exclusive Offers!