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Yankees Hot Corner – Aaron Judge flying under the radar

It was an ugly night in the Bronx on Tuesday as the New York Yankees lost 9-1 to a bad at best Miami Marlins team.  It hasn’t been all bad however, as they pummeled the Marlins 12-1 Monday night and won their rain-shortened one game series against the Detroit Tigers prior to that.  The Yankees come into their next series against the Toronto Blue Jays at 8-8, a big disappointment considering they were poised to be a favorite coming out of the American League.

However, as I’ve stated before the MLB season is extremely long and the Yankees will hit their stride once it gets a little warmer.  They’re still dealing with a ton of injuries, as some of their starters and a key cog in the rotation, C.C. Sabathia, are all on the DL.  Another addition was made to the DL Tuesday, as Tommy Kahnle was placed on the 10 day DL with bicep tendonitis.

With all the talk about Giancarlo Stanton being booed at home and the extremely inconsistent offense not showing up for large stretches, there is one Yankee who has hit his stride early.  Aaron Judge, after all his accolades and coming out party in his rookie season, has somehow not been noticed by the baseball world early this season as one of the best hitters in the league.

After a stellar first half to the season, a combination of poor plate discipline and a lingering shoulder injury hindered his performance at the plate.  What could have been an otherworldly season statistic wise, Judge still ended up finishing second in the AL MVP race behind Jose Altuve.  This season, he’s returned to his first half form and has been much more disciplined at the plate.

Excluding tonight’s game where he went 0-2 with two walks, Judge is batting .351 with a .479 ON BASE PERCENTAGE.  He has literally been on base for almost half of his at bats.  Judge has four home runs and 11 RBIs, and has also sprinkled in two stolen bases already.  It’s no secret that the key to getting Aaron Judge to strike out is to make him chase down and away pitches.  However, he’s actually laid off those bad pitches so far and is walking at a record pace.

It should come as no surprise that Judge worked in the offseason to shore up his swing and critique his own plate approach.  He isn’t chasing pitches out of the zone, complaining about knee high pitches that shouldn’t be a strike on his large frame, and just playing good baseball.  In addition to his improved offense, he is still a stellar outfielder.  He used every inch of his 6’7 to steal a home run away from Caleb Joseph early in the season, and has made countless outfield assists with his rocket arm.  The Yankees may be struggling right now, but Aaron Judge is not.  He is one of the few bright spots so far this season.  I foresee this continuing throughout the season and see him having an even better second half once the weather gets warm.  In all honesty, it can’t get much worse.

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