With a record of 37-23, the New York Yankees have a four-game lead in the AL East after the weekend’s action, something not many baseball observers saw coming. They’ve won five games in two – two against the Red Sox and a just-completed three-game sweep over the Orioles – outscoring their two division rivals by a combined 55-9 over the stretch.
The Yanks have been an offensive force, and leading the way is 25-year-old right fielder Aaron Judge, who not only appears to be a lock for the AL Rookie of the Year award, but is also the favorite to win MVP.
Judge’s numbers are off-the-charts good, and he brings plenty of wow factor along with him as well.
His first home run in the Yankees’ 14-3 win over Baltimore on Sunday (he hit two) traveled 496 feet (!), making it the longest jack in MLB since ESPN began tracking the distance of home runs in 2009. In fact, he became just the third player to hit a home run of 490 or more feet since 2009 (Giancarlo Stanton and Wladimir Balentien are the others).
He also hit a home run in Saturday’s 16-3 win over the O’s, and that one happened to be the hardest hit dinger on record (121 mph).
Yesterday: Hardest hit HR (121 mph)
Today: Longest HR (495 feet)
A weekend in the life of Aaron Judge pic.twitter.com/2jLbaBXv4m
— SI MLB (@si_mlb) June 11, 2017
Judge went 4-for-4 on Sunday, including the two HRs, and now leads the AL in HRs (21), batting average (.344) and RBIs (47).
New York sports writers are salivating.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post has this to say, “Aaron Judge is doing for the home run what Julius Erving once did for the dunk. He is elevating the act, making you wonder if you have ever seen anything quite like it. …
“Right now, Judge is Mantle,” Sherman continues, adding that Judge is putting up number reminiscent of Barry Bonds in his prime.
Judge’s current form is deserving of superlatives. Maintaining that form may obviously be a different story, but it’s sure going to be fun to watch him try.