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Aaron Judge

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Aaron James Judge

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[edit] Biographical Information

Outfielder Aaron Judge was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the 31st round of the 2010 amateur draft. He did not sign, opting to attend Fresno State University instead. He was then taken by the New York Yankees in the supplemental first round of the 2013 amateur draft, with the 32nd overall pick. He signed shortly before the deadline for a $1.8 million bonus. He was an outstanding all-around athlete in high school, also starring in basketball, where he averaged almost 17 points and 11 rebounds per game as a center, and as a wide receiver in football, where he set a school records for touchdowns and receiving yards in a season.

Judge made his professional debut in 2014 with the Charleston RiverDogs of the South Atlantic League, and before the year was out, he had been promoted to the Tampa Yankees of the Florida State League. In 131 games between the two teams, he hit .308/.419/.486 with 24 doubles and 17 homers, 80 runs and 78 RBIs. He also drew 89 walks, showing an excellent eye at the plate. He continued his progression in 2015, starting off with the Trenton Thunder of the AA Eastern League and once again at the halfway point of the season he earned a promotion, this time the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders of the AAA International League. His numbers were not as glowing as in his first season, but were still good: a batting line of .255/.330/.448 in 124 games, 26 doubles and 20 homers, 63 runs and 72 RBIs. His numbers were brought down by a .224 average at Scranton, where pitchers began to pitch him off-speed pitches at the corner of the strike zone, after challenging him unsuccessfully with mostly fastballs until then.

In 2016, he began the season back at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and hit much better, putting up a .270 average in 93 games and displaying excellent power with 18 doubles and 19 homers. It was his luck that the Yankees were now undertaking a youth movement by getting rid of some of their older players, and the day after former superstar Alex Rodriguez played his last game in pinstripes, he was called up to the Show, making his debut in right field and batting 8th against the Tampa Bay Rays at New Yankee Stadium. Batting ahead of him was his Scranton teammate, Tyler Austin, playing 1B, and he got his big league ledger started by homering off Matt Andriese to open the score in the 2nd; not to be outdone, Aaron followed with a home run of his own, a monster shot that went an estimated 476 feet to dead center, one of the longest ever hit at the ballpark. It was the first time two teammates had homered in their maiden big league at-bat in the same game, never mind back-to-back. He then added another hit and run to finish 2 for 4 as the Yankees cruised to an 8-4 win. He hit another homer in his second game the next day to become only the second player in Yankees history to homer in his first two games, after Joe Lefebvre. In 27 games, he hit only .179 with 42 strikeouts in 84 at-bats. He hit two more homers after his opening burst to finish with 4 and 10 RBIs. On September 13th, he was removed from a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a right oblique strain, likely ending his season.

Because of his large size and outstanding power, he has been compared to Hall of Famer Dave Winfield and to contemporary Giancarlo Stanton.

[edit] Further Reading

  • Bryan Hoch: "Judge makes adjustments to accelerate path: Yankees' top prospect hopes to make Major League debut in '16", mlb.com, February 15, 2016. [1]
  • Howard Megdal: "Aaron Judge's early power surge a big deal for the Yankees", USA Today Sports, August 17, 2016. ¸[2]

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