In tonight’s 7-6 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees rookie phenom Aaron Judge hit his 29th home run of the season. Judge has been blasting home runs all season, but this one is special. With his 29th home run of the season hit tonight, it ties Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio for the Yankee rookie home run record.
Aaron Judge is doing something that hasn’t been done by a Yankee since Joe DiMaggio. 👀
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 5, 2017
When DiMaggio hit his 29 home runs in 1936, he did so in 138 games played. Judge has played just 81 games to reach 29 home runs.
Judge Setting His Sights On Yankee Legends
With the torrid pace Aaron Judge is on, it seems possible he could challenge some historic Yankees by the end of this season. At his current pace, Judge would hit 57 home runs in 158 games played. Only four Yankees have ever hit 50-plus home runs, with Alex Rodriguez (54) once, Mickey Mantle (52 and 54) twice, Babe Ruth (54, 54, 59, and 60) a whopping four times, then Roger Maris (61) once at the top with his magical 1961 season.
Taking a look at Judge’s overall offense in 2017, he sits at 15th in Yankee history in wRC+ at 196. The only three names he is looking up at here are three of the very best to ever play the game: Mantle, Gehrig, and Ruth. The only other players in their top 50 and since 1980 are Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi, both appearing on the list twice.
Lastly by looking at fWAR, Judge is currently sitting at 5.5 through his 81 games to this point. If he were to keep up that pace, he would end up around 10.5 fWAR for the full season. All-time, the Yankees have had 14 seasons from position players with 10 or higher fWAR. In no surprise to anyone, we see the same legends on this list with two from Gehrig, three from Mantle, and an unbelievable NINE from Ruth.
All-Star Game and Home Run Derby
We are around a week from the All-Star game, and Aaron Judge is by far the best position player in the MLB this season. Currently, he is sitting nearly a win and a half higher than the next closet player in fWAR, over the perennially underrated Paul Goldschmidt. Baseball fans, writers, and players alike are all buzzing about seeing Judge not only in the All-Star game, but seeing him participate in the Home Run Derby.
As far as the Home Run Derby goes, we will see a stacked power lineup:
Get ready for some POWER. pic.twitter.com/RQJ64bX70w
— MLB (@MLB) July 5, 2017
Despite many interesting power hitters in the derby, including another rookie phenom in Cody Bellinger, most people are salivating at the prospect of Aaron Judge vs defending 2016 Home Run Derby champion Giancarlo Stanton.
Aaron Judge Going Forward
2017 has been superb for Judge to this point. We are now more than halfway through the season, and he has not slowed down a single bit. People are clamoring to do things as simple as essentially taking batting practice, as with the Home Run Derby. Tonight he has tied Joe DiMaggio for the Yankees rookie home run record, but we could see season records fall by the end of this season that don’t have the qualifier of “rookie” in them.
Judge has been great for everyone in or surrounding the sport of baseball, outside of opposing pitchers, that is. If we could see him hanging around with all-time Yankee greats in the record books by the end of 2017, we all will have been treated to something incredibly special.