Saturday, April 22, 2017

A Powerful Judge

People will always be in awe of certain baseball players. In the case of batters, there are some that are amazed at the hits, defense and clutch performances. Pitchers have to outsmart their opponents and find ways to get them out. For the 2017 season, they will have that ultimate question. How do you stop New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge? If he hits a ball, how do you react?

The Yankees are in a bit of a retooling right now and this season will be a test to see how some of the veterans play with a slew of up and comers. So far, it has paid off in this very young year and Judge is one of the catalysts that helps them on to victory. Coming up in mid-August last year, he belted his first hit, a home run into center field at Yankee Stadium. After that, he struggled. His average was below .200, had 42 strikeouts in 84 at-bats. There was some power, but you would hope he would improve as gets accustomed to the league, especially with other young "Baby Bombers" like Tyler Austin, Gary Sanchez, and Greg Bird.

Whatever he worked on, Judge has become the guy that could get Yankee Stadium to sell out in regular season games and the playoffs if they play strong baseball. The home runs he has put up so far, (five already) a few of them have been absolute blasts. Prior to this latest game against Pittsburgh, he launched a deep one against the Chicago White Sox that was near the top of the bleacher rows in left center field. His size might help with his strength. This is the kind of guy that should be playing football or basketball at six foot seven and at about 280 pounds. 

His power should scare any pitcher (or fielder depending on where its hit in the infield) that has to face him. That was very evident from last week's game against the Tampa Bay Rays. With reliever Jumbo Diaz at the helm, Judge hit a pitch that almost hit Diaz in the head. The exit velocity was clocked in at 116 miles per hour for a single. There will be a lot of veteran aces that will figure things out and some of the youngsters who will study film on Judge. However, Judge could be an unstoppable force that could get Yankee Stadium rocking and be a face of the team since Derek Jeter and maybe Major League Baseball if puts up strong numbers for the next five years.

How he will fare in other stadiums for a full season will really determine his place for rookie of the year and his career. This could be the type of player who averages 30 to 40 home runs a year, but an issue being the strikeouts. It is his session that he can't adjourn. With other young players to lead the way, a World Series is not out of the question.

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