Aaron Judge out to threaten Barry Bonds’ historic milestone

Yankees' Aaron Judge runs after hitting a two-run home run vs. the Royals at Kauffman Stadium on June 11, 2024.
NYY
Joe Najarian
Wednesday June 12, 2024

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Aaron Judge made a powerful return to the New York Yankees lineup Tuesday night, hitting his MLB-leading 25th home run in a decisive 10-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. After a rare day off, he wasted no time showcasing his prowess, contributing to the Yankees’ trio of home runs in the win.

His two-run homer in the seventh inning was a 436-foot blast that sealed the game, marking his 21st homer in his last 41 games and elevating his OPS to an MLB-best 1.149.

This game also marked Aaron Judge’s 22nd multi-RBI performance of the season, tying him with Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez for the league lead in RBIs at 62.

Continuing his stellar season, Aaron Judge now boasts a .712 slugging percentage, way above the MLB average of .699. If he keeps up this pace, he could become the first player to end a season with a slugging percentage of .700 or higher since Barry Bonds achieved .812 in 2004, underscoring the historic caliber of Aaron Judge’s offensive performance this year.

New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge hits a two-run home run against the Kansas City Royals during the seventh inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, June 11, 2024, in Kansas City, Mo.
AP

Aaron Judge is better than his 2022 record season

Aaron Judge is putting together an even more remarkable season in 2024 than his record-setting 2022 AL MVP campaign, despite trailing his previous home run pace.

In a 6-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on “Sunday Night Baseball,” Aaron Judge shone brightly, going 3-for-4 with a double, a home run, and two RBIs. On Tuesday, he hit his 25th home run. Following a sluggish start in April, the slugger rebounded with a historic May and has maintained his scorching form into June. He currently leads MLB in home runs (25), total bases (173), walks (55), on-base percentage (.437), slugging percentage (.712), OPS (1.149), and WAR (5.0).

If we look at his statistics for the same number of 68 games in 2022, when he registered his home run record, Aaron Judge had .304/.379/.658 with 27 home runs, 53 RBIs, and 34 walks. This means he is better this year.

Supported by teammates like Juan Soto and Anthony Volpe, Aaron Judge has emerged as the favorite for his second AL MVP Award, bolstering the Yankees’ strong position in the standings, as the season nears its midpoint.

Judge capped off the 2022 season by breaking former Yankees great Roger Maris‘ 61-year-old AL record of 61 home runs in a single season, finishing with 62. With his current form, he may surpass his own record.

Aaron Judge among Yankees’ all-time HR leaders

Yankees' Aaron Judge rounds bases after a homer against the Mariners at Yankee Stadium Thursday, May 23, 2024, in New York.
X-NYY

Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees has been climbing the franchise’s all-time home run list at a remarkable pace since his debut in 2016. In his first 182 major league games, he belted an impressive 56 homers. With the exception of his brief 2016 season and the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, he has consistently hit at least 27 home runs per year. This season, he leads the league with 24 home runs.

According to Statmuse, Aaron Judge’s 281 career home runs place him eighth on the Yankees’ all-time list, trailing Bernie Williams, who finished with 287. He is on track to surpass Williams for a seventh place soon.

The Yankees’ home run leaderboard ahead of Aaron Judge includes some of the most legendary names in baseball history. Alex Rodriguez is next with 351 home runs, just seven behind Yogi Berra. Joe DiMaggio holds fourth place with 361 homers in 1,736 games. The top three are Lou Gehrig with 493, Mickey Mantle with 536, and Babe Ruth, who leads with 659 home runs in 2,084 games. Remarkably, Ruth hit 123 more home runs than Mantle in 317 fewer games, setting a record that seems unassailable.

Despite his own impressive achievements, Aaron Judge remains modest, not considering himself in the same league as Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols, or Miguel Cabrera. He admitted that he was not trying to dwell on his stats, even during slumps, and, instead, looked at teammate Juan Soto’s numbers for inspiration.

Aaron Judge acknowledges the significance of hitting .330 or .340, as Soto has achieved and leaves it all to November.

“I’m just trying to put together good at-bats,” he said. “Yeah, [if I’m hitting] .330 in November. I might feel locked in.”

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