It’s not every year that you get to witness history writing itself on the baseball diamond. That’s exactly what Aaron Judge is doing. After deciding to bet on himself with a one-year deal in New York, Judge has been putting up numbers like we’ve never seen before.
With two weeks left in the regular season, Aaron Judge has hit a total of 60 home runs. That is tied for second all-time in the American League alongside “The Sultan of Swat,” Babe Ruth. The world has witnessed only five instances where a player has reached 50 home runs in the last 14 years. Judge needs to hit one more in order to reach the top of the mountain at 61 home runs alongside Roger Marris, who broke the record in 1961.
However, as a right-handed hitter in the American League, his 60 homers are the most all-time. Judge has had 11 games where he has hit multiple home runs, which is tied with Hank Greenberg (1938) and Sammy Sosa (1998) for the most in a single season.
It’s not just the home run category that Aaron Judge is smashing this year. He’s also the league leader in RBIs (128) and the AL leader in batting average (.316). Judge’s current numbers in the RBI department are the most in the past four years since J.D. Martinez went for 130 RBIs but with four more sets of games still to come, Judge is destined to eclipse that number as well and then some.
In the batting average category Judge ranks third right now in the MLB behind Paul Goldschmidt (.321) and Freddie Freeman (.328). This puts Judge in line for the second triple crown in the past decade. Miguel Cabrera was the last man to reach that milestone in 2012. Beyond Cabrera, the last triple crown winner was Carl Yastrzemski for the Boston Red Sox in 1967. If you thought his .316/60/128 line was great, those are not the only categories that Judge is dominating. He also leads the MLB in wins above replacement (9.9), on-base percentage (.422), and slugging percentage (.703), which allows him to lead in the on-base plus slugging percentage list as well (1.125).
The one stat that stands out here is his wins above replacement or WAR for short. The MLB measures WAR as a player’s value in all aspects of the game by “deciphering how many more wins he’s worth than a replacement-level player at his same position (e.g., a Minor League replacement or a readily available fill-in free agent).” He has the highest number in the last four years since Mookie Betts put up a 10.7 WAR in 2018 for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Judge has been nothing short of spectacular for the New York Yankees, who currently sit atop the AL East and second in the cumulative AL standings. Through the first half of the season, the Bronx Bombers won 64 games of their 92 total, a new club record. At 64-28, this Yankees squad was the 6th since 1947 to win at least 64 in the first half with the 2001 Mariners being the last to achieve such success. As they were the talk of the town across the league, the second half of the season saw the Yankees plunder before our eyes. Since the all-star break ended on July 20th, New York is 27-30. Since 1933, only 14 teams have qualified for the playoffs with a sub .500 second-half record. According to Thomas Harrigan of MLB.com, only three of those teams have gone on to win the World Series.
Judge’s presence in this Yankees lineup has propelled them to keep their pace atop the AL East. The Yankees were up by as much as 15.5 games in the division, which shrunk to a mere 4 games during their series against the Tampa Bay Rays in early September.
Today, they currently ride a four-game winning streak, the second of its kind in the past 12 days. Up until yesterday, Judge was on an 11-game hitting streak, going 22-46 with 10 RBIs, 10 extra-base hits, and 15 runs scored. He now has 13 games remaining to break more records and cement his name among the greatest offensive players in the sport.
The Yankees got the Boston Red Sox in a four-game series that ends on Sunday, where Judge will aim to establish himself as one of the greatest Yankees to ever live.