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Aaron Judge
Aaron Judge Yankee

Aaron Judge is barely a top 50 player in MLB?

This week CBS released a list of the 100 best players in Major League Baseball. Aaron Judge was ranked No. 47.

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There was no statistical merit for this. No numbers were attached to the list and Judge almost falling out of the top 50 made about as much sense as someone like Marcus Semien, a guy who was in the top three in MVP voting last year, barely making the top 30. Also, DJ LeMahieu is not on this list and he was top four in MVP voting. If you lean toward Queens, you’re probably really pissed off that Jeff McNeil – the NL LeMahieu if you will – hasn’t gotten a sniff either.

Aaron Judge

Don’t get me wrong. The top 50 wasn’t a complete list of jobbers. It was the elite among the elite. You’d draft most of these guys high in your fantasy leagues. There are a ton of no brainers on here such as Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Jacob deGrom and Gerrit Cole. You can’t in good faith put Judge ahead of them. 47th for Judge though? The whole thing makes even less sense when you look at the numbers.

Aaron Judge on Baseball Savant:

If you’re going by the raw numbers that Statcast gives us on Baseball Savant then you really understand how ludicrous a ranking such as this is. Judge is tops in the league in both offensive and defensive categories on Baseball Savant.


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Exit Velo: 100% (1st in MLB)
Hard Hit: Top 100%
Expected Batting AVG: Top 80%
Expected Slugging: Top 97%


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Outs Above AVG: Top 94% (11th in MLB)
Sprint Speed: Top 79%

Aaron Judge on Fangraphs:

Looking through the Fangraphs Splits Leader Boards here is where Judge ranks among the league in 2019. You can see that while, yeah he wasn’t a top ten player, you can argue he still belongs in the 20 – 30 range:

141 wRC+ (23rd)
.921 OPS (31st)
4.6 WAR (26th)
20 Defensive Runs Saved (20th)

The CBS List:

Look I think lists are stupid. I completely understand why any website would throw out a list right now. There are no sports at all.

Football won’t be here until the fall – with the most exciting thing we’ll have going soon is the upcoming NFL Draft – and baseball can potentially be here by the summer. Other than that, unless you’re constantly showing old clips, there is nothing new. A list is a good way to get eyes without having to do much thinking into the content you’re making.

The problem I have with CBS putting Judge 47th is that there is no statistical merit to it. Why are Gary Sanchez, Shohei Ohtani, Corey Seager and Jose Ramirez ahead of Judge? Is it the injuries? The injuries hurt Judge’s ranking but somehow Seager, Ohtani and, Gary managed to be ahead of him? They were injured too. As for Ramirez, he was so bad during the second half of 2018 and the first half of 2019 that he might as well have been injured as long as Aaron Judge.

Aaron Judge’s injuries have stunk but he has still been one of the better ballplayers in MLB. Judge missed close to 120 games between 2018 and 2019 and with it, he is still a top 20 player in baseball:

.920 OPS (13th in the league)
9.7 WAR (18th)
146 wRC+ (9th)
37 DRS (5th)

So where do you put Judge? Let’s combine the data from above to the 2019 WAR of each player on this list.

Out of the 49 other players on the list, Judge has a higher WAR than 16 of them. Counting those 16 players, 24 join him in having a WAR under 5.0. You can look at the list yourself.

40 – 50

Higher WAR than 6
7 have a WAR under 5.0.

Anthony Rizzo: 4.0 WAR
Ketel Marte: 7.1 WAR
Ryu – 4.8 WAR
Soroka: 4.0 WAR
Springer: 6.5 WAR
Mitch Garver: 3.9 WAR
Corey Seager: 3.3 WAR
Zack Greinke: 5.4 WAR
Freddie Freeman: 4.0 WAR
Gary Sanchez: 2.3 WAR

30 – 39

Higher WAR than 3
6 Under 5.0 WAR

Trevor Story: 5.8 WAR
Justin Verlander: 6.4 WAR
Pete Alonso: 4.8 WAR
Jose Ramirez: 3.3 WAR
Patrick Corbin: 4.8 WAR
JT Realmuto: 5.7 WAR
Rafael Devers: 5.9 WAR
Kris Bryant: 4.8 WAR
Matt Olson: 3.9 WAR
Shohei Ohtani: 1.8 WAR

20 – 29

Higher WAR than 3
6 Under 5.0 WAR

Shane Bieber: 5.6 WAR
Jose Berrios: 4.4 WAR
Josh Donaldson: 4.9 WAR
Walker Buehler: 5.0 WAR
Marcus Semien: 7.6 WAR
Jack Flaherty: 4.7 WAR
Luis Castillo: 4.1 WAR
Yoan Moncada: 5.7 WAR
Eugenio Suarez: 4.5 WAR
Nolan Arenado: 5.9 WAR

11 – 19

Higher WAR than 3
4 Under 5.0 WAR

Javier Baez: 4.4 WAR
Jose Altuve: 3.5 WAR
Gleyber Torres: 3.6 WAR
Stephen Strasburg: 5.7 WAR
Yasmani Grandal: 5.2 WAR
Xander Bogaerts: 6.8 WAR
Alex Bregman: 8.5 WAR
Max Scherzer: 6.5 WAR
Juan Soto: 4.8 WAR

1 – 10

Higher WAR than 1
1 Under 5.0 WAR

Ronald Acuna: 5.6 WAR
Francisco Lindor: 4.4 WAR
Anthony Rendon: 7.0 WAR
Matt Chapman: 6.1 WAR
Cody Bellinger: 7.8 WAR
Jacob deGrom: 7.0 WAR
Christian Yelich: 7.8 WAR
Gerrit Cole: 7.4 WAR
Mookie Betts: 6.6 WAR
Mike Trout: 8.6 WAR

It’s like I said earlier. While Judge may not be top 10, he is pretty close to the top 20. Where around 20 is up to you though. I can’t stress enough how much I hate lists so I won’t do it. I’ll just say lists are stupid and stick to that.