‘I’m Still Aaron Judge’ swagger precedes Yankees’ explosive outburst vs Brewers

New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge celebrates after hitting a two-run home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Saturday, April 27, 2024, in Milwaukee.

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Hours before the Yankees’ offensive explosion in Milwaukee, Aaron Judge predicted it subtly. In a recent interview with ESPN’s Jorge Castillo, he boastfully remarked “I’m still Aaron Judge,” when asked about his struggles at the plate in the first month of the season.

It followed a Yankees’ offensive outburst that saw four home runs and hits by all except Anthony Volpe. The Bombers bombed the Brewers on their way to a massive 15-3 victory.

Aaron Judge’s bat remains in contention

While the arrival of Juan Soto has dominated the headlines, Aaron Judge remains a pivotal piece of the New York Yankees’ puzzle. Despite a sluggish start to the season, the Yankees captain exudes confidence in his ability to reverse course.  

During the interview, Aaron Judge acknowledged his history of overcoming early-season struggles. He emphasized his unwavering belief in his skills, making a statement that highlighted his core talent remains intact.

“I’m still Aaron Judge,” the slugger said. “I don’t think that’s changed.”

Aaron Judge entered Saturday with a batting line of .178/.317/.356 with four home runs and 13 RBIs in 123 plate appearances that might raise eyebrows. A deeper dive into underlying metrics suggests there may be more than meets the eye.

Aaron Judge prior to the game between the Yankees and Brewers on April 26, 2024.
MLB

According to Baseball Savant, Aaron Judge continues to excel in key areas. These include barrel rate (82nd percentile), hard-hit rate (91st percentile), average exit velocity (96th percentile), and walk rate (96th percentile). While these numbers are slightly down from his MVP-caliber campaign last year, they still indicate a player with immense potential.

MLB Network analysts Sean Casey and Harold Reynolds have pointed to a slight difference in Aaron Judge’s swing mechanics, particularly the starting position of his hands. This suggests a potentially simple adjustment that could lead to a significant turnaround.

It’s important to note that despite Aaron Judge’s struggles and the absence of injured ace Gerrit Cole, the Yankees have gotten off to a strong 17-10 start. Juan Soto‘s arrival has undoubtedly been a boon, as evidenced by his impressive .324/.437/.588 slash line with seven home runs and 23 RBIs. Rookie Anthony Volpe has also emerged as a breakout player, batting .284/.354/.402 in 26 games.  

Once Aaron Judge rediscovers his peak form, the Yankees have the potential to become a true force in the American League. The underlying metrics and his unwavering confidence suggest that this return to form could be just around the corner.

Yankees go on rampage in Milwaukee

The New York Yankees exorcised the demons of a two-game skid on Saturday night, blasting the Milwaukee Brewers 15-3 to even the series. This emphatic victory marked the Yankees’ (18-10) most lopsided win of the season and showcased their potent offensive firepower.

New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge hits a two-run home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Saturday, April 27, 2024, in Milwaukee.
AP

Nearly every member of the starting lineup contributed to the offensive onslaught. Nineteen hits rained down on Brewers’ pitching, with all but leadoff hitter Anthony Volpe reaching base safely. Volpe, despite notching a hit, drew a walk and scored two runs, further demonstrating the team’s offensive depth.

Alex Verdugo, Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo, and Giancarlo Stanton all joined the home run party, adding crucial insurance runs throughout the game. Notably, Gleyber Torres, who had been mired in a slump, found redemption in the seventh spot of the batting order. He delivered a pivotal three-run double in the third inning, surpassing his entire season RBI total in a single swing. This clutch hit, along with two additional singles, capped a remarkable turnaround for Torres.  

The sixth inning saw a power surge from the middle of the order. Aaron Judge, batting in the unfamiliar sixth spot for the first time, launched a two-run homer. Anthony Rizzo followed suit later in the inning with a two-run blast of his own, extending the Yankees’ lead to a commanding 11-1 and effectively sealing the victory.

This dominant performance served as a much-needed pick-me-up following a heartbreaking 11-inning loss the previous day. It also allowed manager Aaron Boone to rest key players like Aaron Judge, Rizzo, and Juan Soto for the final innings – a crucial advantage considering the Yankees are currently in the midst of a grueling 17 games in 17 days stretch.

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