Based on the latest All-Star Game voting figures, it’s clear that the baseball world is enthralled by Aaron Judge, and is hoping the Yankees’ rookie will put on a hitting clinic during this summer’s Home Run Derby in Miami on July 10.
With 22 home runs in just 61 games, it seems as if the 6-foot-7, 285-pound behemoth is a shoo-in to compete. Or is he?
“I haven’t even thought about it,” Judge told Randy Miller of NJ Advance Media on Tuesday. “I’ll wait to the day [I’m invited], I guess.”
Back in mid-April, prior to Judge’s torrid hitting pace, he discussed his interest in participating in the Home Run Derby, and told Miller that it wouldn’t affect his swing or plate approach.
“The Home Run Derby is awesome,” said Judge, who won the 2012 College Home Run Derby as a sophomore at Fresno State. “It’s a fun event to watch and I’d probably do it if they asked me. I’ve been in them before and I just take my normal swing that I do in batting practice and hopefully it would all work out. I’d just go out there and have fun. I wouldn’t change anything. But it would be a fun thing to do.”
More importantly, Judge has received his manager’s blessing to take batting practice in front of 37,000 fans and millions of viewers next month.
“You watch him doing his work in BP, there are a lot of homers going to right and there are a lot of homers going to center,” Joe Girardi told Miller. “It’s just not pull, pull, pull, pull, pull. Sometimes you worry about the physical nature of [a Home Run Derby] … them getting hurt. Sometimes you worry about them doing something they don’t do in the course of a game.
“But you watch [Judge in] BP, his first round he’s hitting balls out of right field. Some guys are working line drives or groundballs. He’s hitting them out. So that’s why [I’m OK with it], because to me it would be a normal BP.”
The defending Home Run Derby champion is Marlins’ slugger Giancarlo Stanton, someone who Judge has been compared to on a regular basis. The two have hit the two longest home runs in the Statcast era, with Stanton’s landing 504 feet from home plate (2016) and Judge’s landing 495 feet from home on Sunday.