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Monday, July 17, 2017

How Aaron Judge Built Baseball’s Mightiest Swing - The New York Times

Approach or mechanics?

The Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn, who struck Judge out twice and walked him once, said that Judge’s newfound ability to lay off pitches out of the strike zone is “a very superstar-like quality; very few guys can do that at that young of an age.”

As he patrolled center field last weekend at Yankee Stadium, the Brewers’ Broxton had a clear view of just how together Judge looked at the plate. Broxton said that when he faced Judge in the minors last year, he was not anywhere near the menace at the plate that he is now.

But Broxton said he was not surprised.

“You could see the talent; you could see what he was capable of,” Broxton said. “Right now, any pitcher that steps on the mound and he gets in the box, they’re obviously going to be a little shaky. They’re going to want to control every single one of their pitches way better than they would any other batter. There’s definitely an intimidation factor when he steps into the box.”

Jim Furtado Posted: July 17, 2017 at 12:20 PM | 32 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: aaron judge, yankees

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. ReggieThomasLives Posted: July 17, 2017 at 02:48 PM (#5494753)
Kevin Maas is very similar, he also made the right adjustments that led him to dominate in the majors.
   2. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 17, 2017 at 03:11 PM (#5494773)
The gradual drifting back to mere earthly status has begun: In the last month, Judge has hit .247/.402/.506. His BABIP has fallen from .426 to .402, which is almost certainly still well above his talent level.

Or maybe he just got destroyed by the Home Run Derby. Since the break, he has one single in 18 at-bats.
   3. Blastin Posted: July 17, 2017 at 03:16 PM (#5494779)
He hit a home run last night but it was caught over the fence. He won't hit like he has, but he'll be fine. And lol at the "derby curse" being a thing people believe.
   4. rconn23 Posted: July 17, 2017 at 03:19 PM (#5494785)
He'll be just fine. He's going to be a perennial All Star. He's just not going to hit .300 every year. I'll take 40 bombs with a .380-.400 OBP anytime.
   5. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 17, 2017 at 03:20 PM (#5494787)
The Derby Curse is so strong, it's even going to afflict Logan Morrison just for wanting to be included in the derby.
   6. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 17, 2017 at 03:22 PM (#5494790)
In the last month, Judge has hit .247/.402/.506.

30 days of a .908 OPS is worrisome? Must be a pretty good player.
   7. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: July 17, 2017 at 03:31 PM (#5494796)
Kevin Maas is very similar,

How quickly they all forget True Yankee Hero Shane Spencer.
   8. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: July 17, 2017 at 03:49 PM (#5494815)
I don't believe in curses.

But I do believe that spending 3 days in a whirlwind of media coverage, including a night taking 200+ hacks at hitting a ball as far as you can, while 98% of baseball is home relaxing and getting their mind right for the second half, may have a negative impact on your short term on-field performance.

And reversion to the mean.
   9. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: July 17, 2017 at 10:19 PM (#5495022)
Whoa thankfully there is finally a post on Judge, I've been hanging out to read something about him.
   10. Random Transaction Generator Posted: July 18, 2017 at 12:59 AM (#5495066)
The curse of the Home Run Derby was so strong that in 2006 it turned Ryan Howard (the HR Derby winner) from merely great (.278/.341/.582 136 OPS+ in the first half) to MVP-level (.355/.509/.751 225 OPS+ in the second half).

   11. ptodd Posted: July 18, 2017 at 02:14 AM (#5495073)
Since 2005 there has been a 23% reduction in HR/G in the 2nd half by HRD participants who hit 10 or more HR in the HRD. A few players escaped unscathed, most did not
   12. theboyqueen Posted: July 18, 2017 at 02:40 AM (#5495075)
Since 2005 there has been a 23% reduction in HR/G in the 2nd half by HRD participants who hit 10 or more HR in the HRD. A few players escaped unscathed, most did not


I mean, the more homers you hit in the first half of the season the more likely you are to decline, right? It's the numerator of your equation.
   13. Famous Original Joe C Posted: July 18, 2017 at 09:09 AM (#5495125)
He's going to be a perennial All Star. He's just not going to hit .300 every year. I'll take 40 bombs with a .380-.400 OBP anytime.


Yes, let's just pencil the 25 year old rookie in for that after a half season that's well beyond anything he has accomplished in professional baseball otherwise. I'm not saying he's Kevin Maas, not by a long shot - but if you gave me, say 4.5 more all star appearances as an O/U, I'm taking the under.

I mean, the more homers you hit in the first half of the season the more likely you are to decline, right? It's the numerator of your equation.


Yep - and the more homers you hit in the 1st half, the more likely you are to be in the derby.
   14. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:20 AM (#5495162)
Yep - and the more homers you hit in the 1st half, the more likely you are to be in the derby.


And the corollary is, if you have a disappointing first half, you're not likely to make the derby. Nolan Arenado had just 16 homers in the first half, so he didn't get invited, but he's much more likely to increase his number of homers in the second half than Justin Bour is.
   15. Tim D Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:38 AM (#5495187)
Brennan Boesch 2010 first half: .342 .397 .593 .990
second half:.163 .237 .222 .458

Brennan Boesch career minor league stats: .281 .331 .456 .787
Aaron Judge minor league stats: .278 .373 .473 .845

Judge is somewhat better than Boesch, a little younger for his debut (24 vs. 25), and playing in a park more suited to his swing. Both big guys with big swings and huge power. But half a season does not a career make.......

For Tiger fans, Boesch went from Hank Greenberg to Hank Aguirre within the course of one season. Not a Yankee fan but I like this kid and hope he is good, but the chance he is the next Brennan Boesch is at least as great as the chance he is the next Big Hurt.
   16. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:45 AM (#5495194)
There’s definitely an intimidation factor when he steps into the box.

I guess he's already a Hall of Famer then.
   17. rconn23 Posted: July 18, 2017 at 11:54 AM (#5495252)
"Yes, let's just pencil the 25 year old rookie in for that after a half season that's well beyond anything he has accomplished in professional baseball otherwise. I'm not saying he's Kevin Maas, not by a long shot - but if you gave me, say 4.5 more all star appearances as an O/U, I'm taking the under."

Yes, because there's no precedent for a player over performing his minor league stats. (Robinson Cano says hello)

I'll take the over on AS appearances. His batting average will drop precipitously. He'll always strike out in bunches, but he will still get on base plenty - which he has always done - and he seems an easy bet for at least 30 HRs annually. He also plays a great right field. That's an all star.
   18. rconn23 Posted: July 18, 2017 at 12:11 PM (#5495268)
"Judge is somewhat better than Boesch,"


Half a career does not a season make, but Judge will likely have as many home runs in one season that Boesch did in his entire career. Boesch didn't have close to Judge's power or size.
   19. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 18, 2017 at 12:19 PM (#5495277)
The curse of the Home Run Derby was so strong that in 2006 it turned Ryan Howard (the HR Derby winner) from merely great (.278/.341/.582 136 OPS+ in the first half) to MVP-level (.355/.509/.751 225 OPS+ in the second half).

Yeah, but look what happened to him after that. It was a delayed-onset curse.
   20. Tim D Posted: July 18, 2017 at 12:50 PM (#5495324)
So the next Adam Dunn then.
   21. Tim D Posted: July 18, 2017 at 12:57 PM (#5495333)
"His batting average will drop precipitously. He'll always strike out in bunches, but he will still get on base plenty - which he has always done - and he seems an easy bet for at least 30 HRs annually. He also plays a great right field. That's an all star."

At 280# plus he won't be a great defender for long. Sounds more like, as I said above, Adam Dunn.
   22. rconn23 Posted: July 18, 2017 at 01:12 PM (#5495349)
And ... Adam Dunn was never a great or even competent defender. Judge is a MUCH better athlete and is third in defensive runs saves among all right fielders behind Betts and Heyward. I know you want the guy to suck but you need to come up with better comps.
   23. The Good Face Posted: July 18, 2017 at 01:40 PM (#5495374)
Dunn was an adequate defender as a very young man (-10 Rfield over his first three full seasons), but by the time he was 25 he was downright bad and only got worse from there, culminating in his unfathomably awful 2009 season where he put up -43 (!!!) Rfield. There was never any point in Dunn's career where he was as good a fielder as Judge has been so far this year.
   24. sotapop Posted: July 18, 2017 at 01:47 PM (#5495380)
FiveThirtyEight on Judge's likely regression to the mean.

TL; DR: He'll regress, but he's almost in a class of his own, so he'll still be damn good.
   25. Swoboda is freedom Posted: July 18, 2017 at 01:58 PM (#5495390)

And ... Adam Dunn was never a great or even competent defender. Judge is a MUCH better athlete


Dunn was a great athlete when younger.

I think Judge's best case comps are guys like Matt Holliday and Joey Votto. Guys who made the majors later and did better as major leaguers than they did in the minors. I don't think he can maintain what he is doing, but he must have some talent as you cannot maintain what he is doing for a 1/2 season by sheer luck.
   26. Tim D Posted: July 18, 2017 at 02:19 PM (#5495411)
"I know you want the guy to suck but you need to come up with better comps."

I said, "Not a Yankee fan but I like this kid and hope he is good...."

Fine, Adam Dunn with a better glove.

"you cannot maintain what he is doing for a 1/2 season by sheer luck"

Boesch hit .342 .397 .593 .990 over 267 PA's, then hit for sh!t the rest of his career. Again, I am NOT trying to say Judge = Boesch, just trying to point out that half a season, particularly for a young player, can be very misleading as to their true capabilities. Judge has done more than Boesch, he's younger, bigger, in a better stadium, has more power, etc, etc etc. He probably won't fall as far, as fast. But it isn't like he's 20 years old and just starting to learn to hit. He's 25 and has plenty of statistical evidence to suggest he will hit for power, walk a lot, strike out a lot, and hit about .280. And he still has just as much chance to fizzle as he does to become an All-Star, Hall of Famer, etc. More likely he's a better version of Adam Dunn, which isn't too bad, especially if he can continue to play the OF well. Frankly I hope I'm wrong; I like the kid, I like seeing Yankee fans wearing stupid wigs, and I hope he's the real deal.
   27. The Good Face Posted: July 18, 2017 at 02:29 PM (#5495417)
An Adam Dunn that plays good defense is a 4 or 5 WAR player. A better Adam Dunn that plays good defense is an MVP candidate.
   28. rconn23 Posted: July 18, 2017 at 03:00 PM (#5495438)
Exactly. Sign me up for Adam Dunn with good, or even just better, defense any day.

The question isn't whether he can maintain what he's doing. He almost certainly cannot. No players other than Trout, or possibly Harper, Votto or Goldchmidt, could.

But the argument seems to be that Judge is just going to fall off some giant cliff never to return. He is a very good hitter and defender, and while he will regress to the mean, he should still be an all star caliber player.
   29. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 18, 2017 at 03:14 PM (#5495452)
Chris Shelton is a good comp. He came up at age 24, did nothing in 56 PAs, then destroyed the league for half a season at age 25, finishing the year at .299/.360/.510. The trajectory is the same, although Shelton was never as good as Judge has been.

There have been a fair number of guys who came out of nowhere to hit very well for half a season in their mid-20s. What makes Judge different is that he's done better than "very well" - he's been the best hitter in the league.
   30. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 18, 2017 at 03:33 PM (#5495475)
Seems a bit ironic that the folks who are claiming a half season isn't enough to mean much find the first 4 games after the All-Star break worthy of mention. Judge might be in a mini-slump, although it took a great catch in the deepest part of Fenway to deprive him of his 31st HR & he had some line drive outs there, too. Let's check back at the end of July. Those who need more immediate feedback can check him out against Bartolo Colon tonight on ESPN & other outlets. That might be a good match-up for Judge.
   31. Swoboda is freedom Posted: July 18, 2017 at 03:46 PM (#5495493)
An Adam Dunn that plays good defense is a 4 or 5 WAR player.

Gorman Thomas
   32. SandyRiver Posted: July 19, 2017 at 02:31 PM (#5496284)
What makes Judge different is that he's done better than "very well" - he's been the best hitter in the league.


Only because Mike Trout was hurt, otherwise .453/.721 beats .434/.647. (Both are fantastic, of course.)

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