For soaring Aaron Judge, Boone’s lofty applause: ‘He’s the best I’ve ever seen’

Yankees' Aaron Judge is at Yankee Stadium before the game against the White Sox on May 17.

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Aaron Judge is currently in the midst of an extraordinary hot streak. As he takes the field on Sunday, his last seven games have been nothing short of spectacular, boasting a batting average of .478, an on-base percentage of .625, and a slugging percentage of 1.087. In the last two weeks, his OPS has skyrocketed from .725 to an impressive .981.

Aaron Judge’s on-base prowess has been particularly noteworthy, reaching base multiple times in each of his last five games and 11 out of the previous 14. His power stroke has also been on full display, launching six home runs in his last 12 games, bringing his season total to 12.

This has clearly laid bare his exceptional abilities to even the most casual baseball observer. The Yankees’ outfielder commands a staggering $40 million annual salary, a testament to his five All-Star selections and his recent historic season, which is still fresh in the minds of fans.

When a baseball lifer like manager Aaron Boone, who has been immersed in the sport since childhood, singles out Aaron Judge as the best he’s ever witnessed in a particular aspect, it demands attention. Although Boone frequently lauds Aaron Judge, this specific praise isn’t directed at an on-field skill but rather an all-encompassing characteristic.

According to Boone, no other player or manager he has encountered throughout his career can match Aaron Judge’s unparalleled ability to navigate the highs and lows of a season with unwavering consistency. His approach to the game remains steadfast, regardless of slumps or hot streaks, showcasing a level of mental fortitude that sets him apart.

“Obviously part of that is he’s a great player,” the manager said on Saturday. “So he has the confidence and knows that he’s going to have results. But you would never know if he has a series where he scuffles or a week where he scuffles or a week where he’s doing the things he is right now. He’s really consistent in who he is and what he presents. I’d say he’s the best I’ve ever seen at that.”

The Yankees manager attributed Aaron Judge’s confidence to his exceptional talent and the assurance that he will ultimately achieve the desired results. Remarkably, the slugger’s demeanor and presentation remain unchanged, whether he’s enduring a challenging series or enjoying a period of success. Boone emphasizes that Aaron Judge’s ability to maintain such consistency is unrivaled in his experience.

Yankees' Aaron Judge is at Yankee Stadium during the game against the White Sox on May 17.

Aaron Judge’s bat has come alive

This scorching stretch comes on the heels of a sluggish start to the season, which raised concerns about Aaron Judge’s health and led some to question how his massive nine-year, $360 million contract would age with the Yankees.

When asked if Aaron Judge’s ability to navigate the ups and downs of a grueling 162-game season reminds him of anyone, Boone drew a comparison to his former Reds teammate, Barry Larkin. However, Boone emphasized that while Larkin excelled in this regard, Aaron Judge takes it to an entirely different level with his unwavering consistency and demeanor.

Larkin’s steadfast approach over his 19-year career, all spent with the Reds, earned him a well-deserved spot in the Hall of Fame. If Aaron Judge can maintain his exceptional performance and consistency for another decade, he too could find himself enshrined in Cooperstown as a one-team legend.

The model of April was a catastrophic failure, barely managing to hit above the Mendoza line. However, a completely different player has emerged, rewriting the narrative and setting the American League ablaze in recent weeks.

With an astonishing seven extra-base hits in the past three games, Aaron Judge has become an unstoppable force, seemingly transporting the Yankees into his own personal time machine. The month of May has been a vivid flashback to his historic 2022 season, a relentless barrage of home runs and line drives. In a mere 14 days, Aaron Judge’s batting average has skyrocketed by an impressive 65 points.

His unflappable demeanor bears an uncanny resemblance to that of Derek Jeter, with one notable distinction: the former captain enjoyed the luxury of a superior supporting cast throughout his two-decade career.

The Yankees teams under Joe Torre and some of those led by Joe Girardi consistently outperformed the squads of the Boone-Judge era. The crux of the matter is that when No. 99 isn’t producing at the plate, the conversation rapidly escalates from the individual to the collective.

Yankees' Aaron Judge rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the Brewers at American Family Field on April 28, 2024.

It’s not merely one player’s slump that triggers widespread panic; it’s the looming specter of the franchise’s 15-year championship drought, hanging over them like an ominous guillotine.

This is precisely why Aaron Judge’s sudden offensive explosion is met with the singular question that consumes the Bronx faithful: where’s the elusive championship ring?

The capacity crowd at Yankee Stadium was treated to a dominant display on Saturday, as the Yankees overwhelmed the American League’s bottom-dwelling team. Yet, the lingering mystery remains: how did Aaron Judge manage to flip a switch on May 2, when his average languished at .197, and transform himself into an unstoppable terminator?

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