Former Yankees scout confesses to find ‘Nothing There’ in Aaron Judge at first evaluation

former Yankees scout Tim Mcintosh

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Aaron Judge is reigning MLB this season with 60 home runs. He has tied with the greatest Yankee Babe Ruth and is out to surpass the record of 61 homers in a single season set by another Yankee great Roger Maris. But in his first evaluation, then Yankees scout Tim McIntosh had dismissed Aaron Judge as “nothing there” to offer to a big-league club.

It was in 2013 when the Yankees drafted Aaron Judge. The Yankees scout was then Tim McIntosh, who was a teammate of Hall of Fame Derek Jeter. Also, he lived with another Hall of Fame player Mariano Rivera. So, he knew what greatness looked like.

But when it comes to Aaron Judge, Yankees scout McIntosh failed miserably to see the greatness the slugger is destined for.

The Yankee scout met Judge first when he was playing a high school baseball game. And this is what McIntosh thought of the big hitter from a small town in California called Linden:

“There was nothing there. Nothing that a big-league club should care about.”

He claims that some of the other scouts thought the same thing. About the power hitter, one of the Giants’ scouts then told him:

“The one guy who, when he hits the ball back at the batting practice screen, I don’t flinch. There is nothing right away.”

One Red Sox scout who took a plane to see Aaron Judge playing for the Linden High Lions said to McIntosh during a game:

“Are you f—ing kidding me? They fly me out here, and Judge can’t even play dead.”

These reviews only confirmed what McIntosh had already seen for himself. As a third-round pick by the Twins in 1986, a former Cape Cod League batting champion (.392), the former Yankees scout played in different positions in Milwaukee, Montreal, and New York. He had a brief stint with the 1996 Yankees when the team began to dominate with Jeter and Rivera dynasty.

Though McIntosh was not given a place in the World Series ring, he was hired by the Steinbrenner family later as a Yankees scout.

McIntosh had quit baseball and opened a winery by the time he saw Aron Judge as a teenager. He then went back to the Yankees, first as a coach in the minor leagues and then as an amateur scout in Northern California. Before he heard about Aron Judge, he knew his way around the cherry farms in the area. This is because McIntosh’s then-wife was a TV star who grew up in Linden. A cousin of Judge’s who coached him in school said he was a good kid but a bit “soft,” which is about the worst thing you can say about an athlete.

The Yankees scout lived 10 minutes away from Linden, so even though Judge didn’t have very good tools, he went to five or six of his games. According to McIntosh, he was just covering his behind because Judge was so big. The prospect was well on his way to becoming the 6-foot-7, 282-pound Yankee he is today. McIntosh even bugged Kendall Carter, his national cross-checker, for asking him to take a look at Judge.

Carter also didn’t like what he saw, but he made a fateful choice when he told the scout,

“Write him up. He’s raw, but he’s so massive that anything is possible. I’ve witnessed stranger things.”

So, McIntosh wrote up Aaron James Judge’s first report for the Yankees. The report wanted Aaron Judge to get stronger in college. The Yankees scout said that the player was fast for his size, but he didn’t think his arm was very good. He mentioned:

 “There was nothing coming out of there when he pitched.”

So, McIntosh’s ultimate role in the drafting of Judge (as the 32nd overall pick in 2013) can’t be compared to what Dick Groch did for Derek Jeter. When he met the skinny Michigan high schooler, the long-time scout instantly predicted that Jeter would one day enter the Hall of Fame.

But still, no one knows what would have happened, if Yankees scout McIntosh had failed to “trick Kendall Carter into going to see Judge” and didn’t file that report.

According to him:

“Those were the first data points. I just put him in the system in case something crazy happened. And then something crazy happened.”

In 2010, Aaron Judge rejected Oakland in order to attend Fresno State, where he blossomed into a major Division I force. During Judge’s sophomore year, his coach Mike Batesole told the Yankees scout that he had never seen a player like him who was able to carry his team on his shoulders.

McIntosh was stunned as he saw Judge hit a line drive right down the middle that could have killed someone. He said to himself, “Oh my God.” “How did that get there?” Before the Yankees picked Judge in the first round, McIntosh joined the Angels as a scout.

The former scout recalls:

“Even in the minor leagues, you would hear that Judge was taking too many pitches, that he wasn’t being aggressive. Everybody missed on him. But he just kept getting better and better. I saw it with Jeter and Mariano [in 1996] — not everybody can play under the lights of New York. But Aaron was born with a gift to be that calm. I’ve been in that clubhouse, and it’s magical. You want those pinstripes on you, and Aaron rose to the occasion.”

While Aaron Judge is on his way to create history, his first Yankees scout was selling houses near his Minneapolis hometown. The pandemic and baseball’s emphasis on analytics led him to real estate. McIntosh misses playing and wearing pinstripes. He is proud of Aaron Judge for proving him wrong.

Do you think Aaron Judge is destined for greatness by birth?

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