If the jury is still out on if Aaron Judge can preserve his torrid hitting pace, perhaps an endorsement from the best player in baseball swings the debate in the rookie’s favor.
“[Judge’s] having a great year, you can’t take anything away from him,” Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout told Mike Mazzeo of the New York Daily News on Tuesday. “He’s put up unbelievable numbers. He’s fun to watch. And you see the way he plays, he’s always smiling. He’s great for the game.”
For those living under a rock, Judge has taken the league by storm this spring. The 25-year-old hit home run No. 22 in the top of the eighth inning against the Angels on Monday night — a go-ahead two-run shot which turned out to be the decisive hit in the Yankees’ sixth consecutive win.
Inside Angel Stadium, several sections were splashed with Yankee colors, with fans prompting MVP chants for Judge. In Anaheim, those cheers are usually for Trout — the defending American League MVP and indubitably baseball’s best talent. But Trout hasn’t received much chatter of late, as he’s recovering from a left thumb injury which put him on the disabled list.
Since Trout was put on the shelf in late May, Judge has become the league’s leader in wins above replacement (4.1), while Trout remains at a second-best mark of 3.4. Fortunately for the Angels, their superstar is expecting to return in mid-July, and Trout hopes he’ll be able to make an All-Star Game appearance with Judge, who’s leading the American League in total fan votes (1.8 million).
“It’d be pretty cool just to hopefully be back by then, if everything goes on schedule,” said Trout, who ranks third in total AL All-Star votes with 1.6 million. “I want to be out there as quick as I can. We’ll see.”
In the meantime, Trout — like many others — will be watching in awe of Judge’s surge. And he’ll certainly enjoy it — well, to an extent.