BRONX, N.Y. — In the chase for 62 home runs, Aaron Judge (45) is four ahead of Roger Maris’s (41) pace for the American League, and New York Yankees franchise (and according to some MLB) records. Judge is also way ahead of the pace for most home runs in the junior circuit for a right-handed batter, 58, held by both Hank Greenberg and Jimmie Foxx.
The Yankees have 50 games remaining on the slate. Half of those games are at Yankee Stadium. Among the 25 road contests, 18 are in ballparks in the top 10 for home runs this season.
So, can Judge reach the mark and if he does, how far does he go?
I’m estimating that the Yankees will give him three (maybe four) days off, in addition to the five scheduled days off. A couple of tough factors to measure are how meaningful the games will be and how much of a sense of history the team has in allowing him to pursue the record.
Below are my projections for Judge at each spot on the remaining docket.
Yankee Stadium 25 games:
Judge has 110 career home runs at home. He homers once per every 10.9 at-bats. If we assume he plays 25 games and gets four at-bats per game, that’s 100 at-bats, and if you divide that by 10.9, that’s a little above nine home runs. He’ll have plenty of familiar at-bats against division opponents plus six games against the Minnesota Twins and Pittsburgh Pirates. It’ll probably be higher but I’ll go with nine.
Fenway Park five games:
Judge has five career home runs at Fenway Park. He homers once per every 27.6 at-bats there. If he plays all five contests and gets four at-bats per game, that’s 20 at-bats, and if you divide that by 27.6, that’s 0.72. It’s a bad pitching staff and an ideal ballpark for a righty but I’ll be conservative and give him one.
Ring Central Coliseum (Oakland) four games:
Judge tears up A’s pitching in Oakland and that was before they stripped down their roster. Judge has four home runs in 43 at-bats at Oakland or one per every 10.75 at-bats. If he plays them all and gets 16 at-bats, he projects to hit 1.48. So, I’ll give him two home runs here.
Angel Stadium three games:
Judge has two home runs in 47 at-bats here. That’s one homer per 23.5 at-bats. If you give him 12 at-bats, that translates to 0.51. The Angels have a lousy pitching staff but I’ll play it close to the vest and give him one.
Tropicana Field three games:
Judge has eight home runs in 148 career at-bats at the Trop. That’s one homer per 18.5 at-bats. He’ll probably get at least one rest day on the turf, so let’s say he gets eight at-bats. That translates to 0.43. I’m actually going in the other direction and I’m giving him two home runs here.
American Family Field (Milwaukee) three games:
Judge has never played at Milwaukee but in 2022 the ballpark is the fifth friendliest for home runs in MLB. I’ll give him two here.
Rogers Centre (Toronto) three games:
Judge has 11 career home runs in Toronto in 122 career at-bats. That’s one home run per 11.0 at-bats. Let’s say he takes a day off from the turf, even though it’s late in the season. So in eight at-bats, that translates to 0.72. I’ll give him one home run here.
Globe Life Park (Texas) four games:
In 14 at-bats at Globe Life Field, Judge has zero home runs. It’s the final series of the year, it’s a turf field and the Texas Rangers have a bad pitching staff. So, let’s say he plays three games, gets 12 at-bats, and hits two home runs.
In total, that’s 20 home runs in the remaining 50 games, good enough for 65 overall. Hence, at that number, I already have him with 63 home runs headed into the Texas series, meaning he’d potentially tie the mark at Toronto and perhaps break it at Yankee Stadium against Baltimore, and oh wouldn’t that be fun?!