Aaron Judge: The Babe Ruth of Our Time
Last season, Aaron Judge became a household name in the world of baseball. His offensive performance was unparalleled and rivaled that of legends like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. With a total of 62 home runs, 131 RBIs, a batting average of .311, a slugging percentage of .686, an OPS of 1.111, 111 walks, and a career-best on-base percentage of .425, Judge set a new standard for American League records. He won numerous offensive awards, was named MVP, and even received a $360 million contract, solidifying his status as a true star in the game.
But what can we expect from Judge in this upcoming season? It's impossible to predict, as he himself has set the bar incredibly high. After declining a contract extension from the Yankees prior to last season, Judge went on to have the best season of his career and solidified his place among the all-time greats in Yankees history by being named the first team captain since Derek Jeter.
Looking back at the careers of other Yankee legends, we can see that following a record-breaking season can be a challenge. Babe Ruth, for example, continued to hit home runs at a remarkable pace after hitting 60 in 1927, but Roger Maris saw a decrease in his home run total the year after breaking Ruth's record in 1961. Similarly, Mickey Mantle's numbers were impressive the year after his Triple Crown season, but he also faced challenges with injuries. Judge's teammate, Giancarlo Stanton, hit 59 home runs in 2017 but saw a decline in his total when he joined the Yankees.
However, what sets Judge apart is his ability to adjust and make changes to his game. A current American League manager noted that the team's approach to facing Judge changed from series to series, as he made adjustments to his game and became a game-changer every time he stepped up to the plate. Despite facing challenges and a less-than-stellar performance from the rest of the Yankees lineup, Judge continued to carry the team and even had a shot at a Triple Crown late into the season.
As we head into the 2023 season, we can expect nothing less from Aaron Judge. With his unrivaled talent and unwavering drive, he will be looking to hit home run number one in what promises to be an exciting second act for this legendary player. On March 30, when the Yankees take on the Giants in their opener, we will once again be saying hello to Aaron Judge and his incredible talent.