Game Day

Why Judge setting the strikeout record means absolutely nothing

NEW YORK – Aaron Judge recorded a strikeout for his 33rd straight game on Wednesday night, passing Adam Dunn, former Reds and White Sox slugger, for the infamous record. Judge also launched a mammoth home run against the New York Mets en route to a Yankees’ 5-3 victory.

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So what does the Yankees’ phenom setting the single-season strikeout record mean? To put it simply, it means nothing. Judge is still getting on base just as much as he is striking out. In the second half alone, Judge has 27 walks, despite his poor batting average. To go along with that, the rookie outfielder walked in 22 of the 33 games during his strikeout streak.

The pitch that has plagued Judge the most is the breaking ball down and away that he tends to chase. Here are a couple of instances where he elected to chase a pitch way out of the zone:

This strikeout came against Danny Salazar on a breaking ball down in the dirt.

This strikeout came most recently against the Mets on Wednesday night.

Put all stats to the side now and think about the player that Judge is. He has the work ethic of someone who wants to be great for a long time and has all the class of a savvy veteran. Judge is a rookie doing things that no one expected of him and breaking records other than the strikeout one.

After the game, Judge still joked with reporters and wasn’t upset about the strikeout record. “Was I aware [of the record]?” Judge said smiling. “I was told before the game that I tied the record. I think you just informed me that I broke the record, so thank you. There’s nothing I can really say.”

Despite his jokes, Judge did say in all seriousness, “There are some great pitchers in this league. You’re going to get fooled sometimes. They’re going to get you. If I keep taking my good swings, swing at the right pitches, good things will happen.”

Ultimately, you look at Judge’s season stats, .292/.420/.614, and you can’t be mad with the results he has put up. To put Judge’s numbers into perspective, a hitter who strikes out less than any other player, Jose Altuve, has an OBP of .423. Judge is still getting on base just as much as one of the best hitters in baseball so who cares if he strikes out once every game? If he has productive at-bats in the other times he is up to the plate, I certainly cannot complain.

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