Aaron Judge’s millionaire Yankees contract sparks concern in an MLB expert

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

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In recent developments, the lucrative contract of Aaron Judge with the New York Yankees has sparked apprehension among baseball pundits. As the slugger’s batting average hovers around .197, questions have emerged regarding the hefty $40 million annual compensation and its correlation with his current performance.

Contrary to speculation, experts argue that it’s premature to judge Aaron Judge’s abilities solely based on his early season stats. With a long season ahead, encompassing more than 100 games, there remains ample opportunity for Judge to reclaim his position as an elite player.

During last Thursday’s 2-7 loss, Aaron Judge faced ongoing challenges, unable to secure a hit in his 1-for-13 performance. This disappointment unfolded despite the game being held at a venue where Judge typically excels offensively. In his final at-bat, he struck out swinging at a 93.5 mph fastball delivered down the middle.

Reflecting on his struggles, Aaron Judge acknowledged, “Right now, when I’m presented with a pitch to hit, I’m either narrowly missing it or grounding it straight into the dirt.” This downturn in performance saw his batting average decline to .197. However, Judge remains optimistic, stating, “I plan to make a few adjustments, and we’ll be back on track soon.”

Keith McPherson, a podcaster and Yankee fan, voiced his concerns, stating, “It just seems like it’s not going to be a good contract, and I’m worried about how Judge can perform further this year.”

“I know what the guy is, though, but right now, it’s what he isn’t … his timing, his eye, the strikeouts, something is up. I don’t like being right about Judge … what I said (in spring training) was we’re never going to see the dominant Aaron Judge from 2022 again,” WFAN host Keith McPherson said Thursday night.

“It just seems like you sign a Jacoby Ellsbury, he’s hurt, he’s MIA. Not a good signing. You sign Aaron Hicks, he falls off a cliff … even Giancarlo Stanton. He’s not completely washed, but think about what we thought we were getting.”

Is Aaron Judge’s position in the Yankees’ batting order under threat?

aaron judge, player of the new york yankees

Aaron Judge’s recent underwhelming performances have prompted scrutiny from the Yankees’ manager, Aaron Boone, regarding potential changes to the batting order. Despite mounting pressure, Boone has repeatedly rebuffed such suggestions.

Concerns about Aaron Judge’s condition linger, with speculations suggesting undisclosed injuries affecting his performance. Analysts like McPherson speculate that a lingering toe injury might be impacting Judge’s overall health and performance, manifesting in issues with his leg, oblique, and abdomen.

Behind the Aaron Judge’s stats in 2024

aaron judge, player of the new york yankees
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Nevertheless, amidst doubts, there are glimmers of hope. Recent displays of Aaron Judge’s prowess, notably in commanding victories against the Brewers, offer optimism. In a remarkable feat, Judge surpassed Derek Jeter’s home run record, solidifying his legacy among the Yankees’ elite.

Despite grappling with a lingering toe injury since 2023, Judge maintains a significant presence in the lineup. While his batting average remains modest at .197, he has showcased power with six home runs and 18 RBIs, boasting a respectable OPS of .725 for the current season.

In the 2024 season, Aaron Judge’s performance, though not stellar, remains within acceptable parameters, with six home runs and 18 RBIs in 149 plate appearances across 33 games. His walk and strikeout rates have seen minor fluctuations compared to the previous year. However, a recent hitless streak spanning three games raises concerns.

Aaron Judge’s lucrative nine-year, $360 million contract, signed in December 2022, underscores expectations for consistent high performance. Despite a productive initial season, injuries have hampered his availability, including a toe ligament tear and abdominal soreness during spring training.

Analyzing Judge’s metrics on Baseball Savant reveals a player with impressive exit velocity and hard-hit rates. However, his barrel rate has declined compared to his career average, potentially indicating issues with making solid contact. While his expected batting average remains modest at .240, there’s hope for a resurgence reminiscent of his rookie year performance.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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2 thoughts on “Aaron Judge’s millionaire Yankees contract sparks concern in an MLB expert

  1. I was in favor of Judge hitting 3rd behind Soto, but the way he’s currently hitting (or not hitting, to be more precise), he’s killing Soto’s chances of seeing good pitches because pitchers would rather face Judge, than Soto, now.

    Given that, I’d move Judge back to the #2 spot, hit Soto third & Verdugo 4th. The Yankees of ’61 did something similar with the Mantle & Maris & that sparked the chase for 61 Home Runs.

    Having said that, I still think there’s something wrong with Judge either physically (the most like possibility, I would think) or emotionally.

    Judge looks hideous against sliders & almost as bad against curves. He doesn’t seem able to correctly identify the spin or the path on either pitch, which is why I think an eye examine is warranted.

    The other physical possibility is that the injured toe is bothering Judge more than he’s let on & is affecting how well he can adjust to & attack breaking balls.

    If the toe is the issue, then playing center can only exasperate that issue, I would think. So, if the toe is the problem, gamble a bit & put Verdugo in CF & Judge in left. Then, if The Martian returns to CF, move Verdugo back to LF, and use Judge primarily as our DH. (I’m a Stanton fan; he’s a classy man, but it’s looking more & more like his days as a consistent hitter are at an end.)

    The third possibility, which I sincerely hope isn’t the case, is that Judge may be dealing with a personal issue, such as the health of his parents. Judge has spoken often & glowingly of both of his adopted parents & how he’s “blessed” to have had them as his parents. Speaking of his mom, for example, he made this beautiful observation: “Some kids grow in their mom’s stomach; I grew in my mom’s heart.” (That’s Profound Love!) I’ve dealt with the issue of a beloved father’s illness & passing, and that issue can easily affect your focus at work.

    Being a Huge Judge fan, if any of the above are the problem, I certainly hope it’s NOT the third one. Physical issues of either type that I mentioned can be addressed & resolved, the loss of a beloved parent is not so easily overcome.

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