After a disappointing debut in 2016, Aaron Judge exploded for 52 home runs, finishing second in the AL MVP voting and arguably becoming the new face of baseball. He ranked first or second in most traditional hitting categories and modern technology confirmed what was obvious to the naked eye: Judge crushed the ball. He finished first in the majors in barrel rate (12.8 Brls/PA) and second among qualified hitters in hard-hit rate (45.3 percent). While Judge still struck out at a relatively high clip (30.7 percent), he made significant improvement in that regard from the previous season and trailed only Joey Votto in walk rate (18.7 percent). While his batting average could fade as he sees a heavier dose of breaking pitches, we've already seen enough to safely say Judge will be at least a three-category stud for many years to come. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder in November, but is expected to be a full go for the start of spring training.
Judge (shoulder) will sit out the first week of Grapefruit League games but could return to the field around the beginning of March, Jack Curry of YES Network reports. In an expected move, manager Aaron Boone said that the team will hold Judge out for the beginning of the spring season while he eases back into the swing of things following arthroscopic surgery in November. The outfielder was able to partake in batting practice earlier this week and appears to be fully healthy, but you can't blame the Yankees for exhibiting extreme caution with their superstar. Expect him to ramp up his activity throughout the course of the spring.
Judge underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder Monday to remove a loose body and clean up cartilage. The surgery was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, and the good news is that Judge is expected to be ready prior to the start of spring training. The slugging outfielder dealt with some shoulder issues during the second half of last season, and while he tried to downplay the issue, it may have contributed to his drop-off in production after the All-Star break. He still posted an impressive .284/.422/.627 line with 52 homers, 114 RBI and nine stolen bases in 155 games for the Yankees. A fully healthy Judge should be poised for another big year at the plate in 2018.
Judge is out of the lineup Sunday against the Blue Jays. Over the last seven games, Judge has hit six home runs and accumulated 12 RBI. He'll get the day off so that he can be well-rested headed into Tuesday's wild-card game versus the Twins. Tyler Austin will head to right field in his place.
Judge went 1-for-4 with a solo home run during Thursday's loss to Tampa Bay. After a disappointing month-and-a-half stretch to begin the second half, Judge has caught fire in September. He's up to 14 homers, 30 RBI and 27 runs with a .310/.460/.893 for the month. It's been a monster campaign for the rookie, and it's especially encouraging that he's locked in at the dish heading into the postseason, when the stakes are highest.
Judge went 2-for-4 with a pair of home runs, a walk and three RBI in Monday's win over the Royals. Judge's remarkable season continues, as his third- and seventh-inning long balls -- his 49th and 50th on the season -- tied and broke Mark McGwire's rookie record set back in 1987, and he's now homered against every American League team. The 25-year-old has fully shaken off his second-half slump and is in the midst of his best stretch of the season -- Monday marked Judge's fourth two-homer game in his last 14 contests, a stretch over which he's hit a healthy .395 with 11 homers and 21 RBI.