To say that New York Yankees rookie Aaron Judge is having a tremendous start to the 2017 season would be a massive understatement.
Hitting .179 with four home runs, 10 RBIs and 42 strikeouts through 84 at-bats in 27 games last season, Judge was completely overmatched and unprepared to face Major League pitching.
However, this year has been a completely different story in every way.
Through 25 games played, Judge has hit .330 with 13 home runs and 27 RBIs. In 88 at-bats, he has struck out 27 times, which is a vast improvement over last season.
But, it’s his incredible power surge that has people talking.
In fact, he set a Major League record for the most home runs through the first 25 games of a rookie season when he took Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman deep in the third inning on Wednesday night.
His 13 blasts lead the entire MLB. He also leads the American League with a .795 slugging percentage and 1.219 OPS. We're not only talking about rookies. We're talking about every player in the league.
There has also been a clear positive effect when Judge homers as well. In fact, the results have been astounding.
Most importantly, he’s already drawing comparisons to a former Yankee great based on not only his on-field success, but also his demeanor on and off the field.
“You know, he’s a little bit like Derek to me. (Judge) has got a smile all the time. He loves to play the game,” manager Joe Girardi said, via Christian Red of the New York Daily News.
“You always think that he’s gonna do the right thing on the field and off the field. When you look at him, he’s got a presence about him. He plays the game to win all the time and that’s the most important thing. It’s not about what you did that day,” said Girardi. “I understand that’s a big comparison, but I remember Derek when he was young. He grew into that leadership role.”
Responding to the comparison, Judge responded just like Jeter would have. “There’s only one Derek Jeter,” said Judge on Monday. “It’s a great compliment. Honored to be in the same sentence, but I’m just trying to go out there and be the best Aaron Judge I can be.”
After accomplishing the feat on Wednesday, Judge responded in his typical fashion.
It’s early, but Judge is quickly becoming a legend in the Bronx. Based on his current pace, he might end up having one of the best rookie seasons in MLB history when it's said and done.
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