It never seems like Clint Frazier is dealing with a shortage of confidence in himself or his teammates, so when the 22-year-old rookie gave his Home Run Derby prediction on Saturday afternoon, his pick came as no surprise.
“[Aaron Judge’s] gonna win it,” Frazier told New York Post’s Steve Serby in a recent Q&A. “There’s not a person in baseball, in my opinion, that can consistently hit a ball as far as him as effortlessly as he does it.
“Everybody knows what Judge is capable of. He worked hard to get here, and last year his little stint up here in the majors probably made him work two times as hard. To me, he’s a freak of nature, that’s the best way to describe him. I mean, he’s driven to be the best, and if you ask me right now, he’s having the best season in baseball.”
There’s no disputing that, as Judge currently leads the majors with 30 home runs, resembling a legitimate candidate to win both American League Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player for the first time since 2001. On Monday night, the 25-year-old outfielder will be swinging for the fences at Marlins Park in Miami, hoping to knock off Marlins’ slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who won the contest in San Diego last year.
But of all the feats Judge has accomplished in his young career, he’s still lacking a walk-off home run — something that Frazier already has under his belt.
“I’ve never had that feeling before in pro ball,” Frazier told NJ.com’s Mark Fischer of his walk-off after the Yankees’ 5-3 win on Saturday. “It’s really special to see the way they guys reacted to that home run. And for me to have my family in the stands again for this game, it’s super special.
“I was trying to make sure that I didn’t go over there and take a big swing. The way that I swung the bat the previous two at-bats helped me keep my poise going into that final one. I was sizing the guy up for one pitch and he threw it.
“You don’t really know what’s going on until you cross third base and you see all of them standing there with the Gatorade and their hats off, screaming. It’s a really cool moment to be a part of.”