In Aaron Judge’s short major league career, seldom has he expressed frustration with the home plate umpire by disputing balls and strikes. It’s just not in his nature as one of those gentle giants.
So when Judge does break character to bicker about poorly called pitches, he most likely has a valid argument.
There happened to be two instances in the Yankees’ 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night at Tropicana Field. In the first inning, Judge, who was the designated hitter, was called out on a 2-2 pitch by umpire Phil Cuzzi. Then, two innings later, Judge was caught looking on a 1-2 pitch, and he turned his head toward Cuzzi, said a few words, and sauntered back to the dugout.
According to the YES Network broadcast, Judge entered Friday with a major league-high 62 pitches called strikes located outside of the zone. That number is now up to 64.
Despite his good eye, despite his plate discipline, Judge’s stature doesn’t always play to his advantage. Friday is a prime example of that.
But Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone isn’t concerned about Judge’s attitude or mindset at the plate.
“Nobody likes to get rung up, but I feel like Judgey is really good at dealing with anything you throw at him. So I don’t think it’s hard for him to deal with it,” Boone told the YES Network after the game. “I think you’re frustrated in the moment, especially for Judgey who controls the strike zone as well as he does and knows the strike zone as well he does.
“I am sure there is some frustration, but I don’t worry about him or affecting anything he does moving forward in the game.’’
Aaron Judge doesn’t have good luck when it comes to called strikes located out of the zone. He entered tonight with 62 of them, most in MLB. His size can be a disadvantage to him at times. #Yankeespic.twitter.com/aoo46tuB3z
What’s next for Clint Frazier? That’s to be determined
Clint Frazieris healthy, but he’s entering each game on a day-to-day basis.
With the return of Brett Gardner, who led off on Friday night after missing nearly a week due to right knee inflammation, the Yankees’ rookie outfielder is back on the bench, with his role at the major league level unknown once again.
The Yankees would like to find a place for Frazier in the lineup. In 38 games (154 at-bats) with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season, the 23-year-old has slashed .312/.389/.558 with seven home runs, 11 doubles, three triples, 19 walks, and 11 RBI.
But based on the ample production the Yankees have received from their outfield regulars this month, Frazier’s playing time might not be a pressing matter in the clubhouse. Before Gardner’s brief injury, he had hit .324 (35-for-108) in his past 27 games. Aaron Hicks has also been red-hot at the plate in June, hitting .297 with five homers, five doubles, and 11 RBI in 64 at-bats. Frazier would likely have to beat out one of those two names, since Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are permanent lineup fixtures as either the right fielder or designated hitter.
So, is it worth keeping Frazier on the big league roster when he could be seeing more at-bats in the minors? Is there a purpose?
“That’s something that we’ll constantly weight,” Aaron Boone told NJ.com. “Are those at-bats available to him? Obviously, this time up he’s been able to get fairly regular at-bats. I envision him probably getting a game here in Tampa. We’ll just continue to kind of weigh that — how much is he able to provide us on a fairly regular basis. As compared to if and when does he need to go back and get those regular at-bats.”