When Aaron Judge unleashes that sweet, effortless swing and barrels up the baseball, we’re often left wondering just how far will his home runs go? Now after the Home Run Derby and All-Star break, a new question has emerged.
How far will Judge himself go?
His performance in the Derby was iconic, and it stamped his status as a premier superstar in the game. Like Michael Jordan in the dunk contest in the late 80’s, Judge was head and shoulders above the competition — a man amongst boys doing things we’ve never seen before.
It was poetry in motion, and there was a home run to satisfy everybody. Long, looping parabolas to the opposite field upper deck that just kept carrying. Line drive missiles into the power alleys, and majestic 500 foot blasts to the back windows in left. And he did it all without breaking a sweat.
In other words, Judge turned in a revolutionary performance that likely cannot be matched by anyone else in the sport.
Just think about the type of player Judge was after he was called up last season. He was hitting .179 and struck out at a 50 percent clip, and looked like an all-or-nothing hitter.
He entered Spring Training this year with the possibility of beginning the season in the minors. Now he’s the talk of the sport in the biggest market in the country. Judge’s meteoric rise from last season until now has been breathtaking, and this is only his rookie season. Scary.
Judge is a larger-than-life, mythical figure, between the pun-friendly marketable last name and his massive, super-hero-like size. He’s a physical specimen, a different breed of baseball player on a different level than his peers.
It’s seems too good to be true, doesn’t it? The Yankees have had such little luck in developing star position players over the years that the skeptical fan in me can’t help but wait for the other shoe to drop.
But maybe Judge is just different. What if he’s one of those special generational talents? He’s captured the imagination of Yankees fans and sports fans alike, and has us all wondering what’s next.
Only time will tell, but his ascent to where he is now has been exhilarating to watch. When comparing ’16 Judge to ’17 Judge, it’s just mind-boggling to comprehend.