Long viewed as one of the top prospects in the Yankees system, Aaron Judge got a chance to make his major league debut last season. Following the trade deadline departure of Carlos Beltran, the 6-foot-7, 275-pound Judge was immediately inserted into an everyday role in right field. After smacking 19 home runs in the minors, Judge got off to a terrific start in the majors with homers in his first two games while hitting over .300 in his first week, but a lot of worrisome issues cropped up after that. The 24-year-old struck out at an alarming 44.2 percent clip and ended up hitting just .179 before a Grade 2 oblique strain ended his season. While his elite raw power was never questioned in the minors, he had some seasons where he posted strikeout rates above 25 percent, and the worry was always that big league pitching would be able to exploit his size, resulting in low batting averages. That appears to be exactly what happened last season. Winning the starting right field job is all but guaranteed, and Judge could be a solid source of power, but the questions about his hit tool make this an extremely volatile profile.
Judge is 3-for-9 with a home run through four spring training games. The homer was an absolute blast, as the 6-foot-7, 230-pounder continued to show off his tantalizing power stroke. Entering his first full season in the big leagues, Judge is poised to take on the everyday duties in right field, though he may end up losing some at-bats in that capacity to Aaron Hicks. The 24-year-old was terrific in the minors last season but hit just .179 in 27 games in the majors while alarmingly striking out in exactly half of his at-bats, so he'll need to display a more restrained approach at the plate as he adjusts to big league pitching.
Judge was placed on the 15-day DL on Wednesday with a Grade 2 right oblique strain, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports. Prior reports suggested Judge would likely miss the rest of the season, and the Grade 2 classification pretty much does away with any remaining hope for a return in 2016. Judge packs impressive power but there is a lot of swing-and-miss in his game right now. He won't just be handed the started job in right field in spring training.
Judge (oblique) is expected to miss the remainder of the season, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports. A strained oblique will prematurely end Judge's rookie season, which he'll conclude with four home runs and a .179 average in 27 games. Rob Refsnyder, Mason Williams, and Aaron Hicks -- once he returns from a hamstring injury -- figure to see the bulk of the playing time in right field in his absence. Going into 2017, Judge will likely have the inside track to a starting role on Opening Day, but he'll need to cut down on his strikeout rate -- he struck out in exactly 50% of his at bats this season -- to take the next step forward.
Judge (strained oblique) is out indefinitely, ESPN's Wallace Matthews reports. "We won't see him for awhile," manager Joe Girardi said after Tuesday's game. This comes as no surprise, as a strained oblique can often lead to a DL stint. The Yankees won't DL Judge since rosters have expanded, but it's possible he won't return during the regular season. In the meantime, Rob Refsnyder is expected to get the bulk of the at-bats in right field.
Judge was diagnosed with an strained right oblique, Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York reports. While it was initially thought that Judge was dealing with an ankle issue, it appears that it's actually an oblique injury. Judge will undergo an MRI on Wednesday, at which point the severity of the strain will become known.