Midseason Report Card: Aaron Judge

Grade: A++

Coming into the season, there was no telling how Aaron Judge would respond to his poor stint in the big leagues last year. Despite his history of struggling at a level, then coming back strong in the ensuing season, Judge amassed a significant amount of doubters. However, Judge has been the Yankees biggest stud in 2017, and he is already in the process of locking up his case for Rookie of the Year, while also competing in the MVP race.
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First Half Performance:

Judge has taken the league by storm, from his tape measuring 500 foot plus homers in batting practice, to his great plays in the outfield, and to his battle in the triple crown race. Entering the All-Star break, Judge carries a .329/.448/.691 line with an American League leading 30 home runs. He sits third in batting average, and second in RBIs with 66, and he also leads the AL with 75 runs, and 60 walks. He also leads in on base percentage, slugging, and thus, OPS (1.139).

The performance of Judge this season is absolutely phenomenal considering his play in his brief stint with the Yankees last season. It's pretty crazy to think that the Yankees considered starting the 6'7" right fielder in AAA, and he now heads into the All-Star break as the leading vote getter, as he will start in right field and hit third for the American League squad in the Midsummer Classic. He will also compete in the Home Run Derby tonight.

Second half expectations:
Judge may be in for a regression in the second half, but it won't be due to participating in the Home Run Derby. Judge was on another level during the first half, and his numbers may naturally decline a little bit. Still, he will be expected to perform at a high level as he locks up Rookie of the Year honors while also competing in the MVP race. It's not unrealistic to see Judge hitting 50 bombs when it's all said and done this year, and if he can manage to keep his average in the .300's, he should have a great chance at winning the AL MVP award.

Conclusion:
It may not be fair to expect Judge to continue to perform at this Triple Crown pace, but Judge has been the story of Major League Baseball in 2017. As a rookie who has said and done all the right things, he’s become arguably the most well-liked player in the game at the moment. If the season were to end right now, Judge would likely be the AL MVP and that is going to be one of the biggest Yankee storylines in the second half.


Article by: Chad Raines

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