There is no question that, when healthy, Aaron Judge is the New York Yankees‘ best position player. No one in the roster has the 10.0-WAR ceiling of the big right fielder, which makes him one of the very best players in the Major Leagues.
The only blemish in Judge’s young career, which includes a 52-homer season and a Rookie of the Year award in 2017, have been injuries. Physical ailments have robbed the Yankees’ star player more than 100 total games in the last two seasons.
According to New York Yankees’ legend Paul O’Neill, who knows something about playing in right field for the Bombers, injuries will likely keep being part of the Aaron Judge package simply because he is not your average baseball player.
“I mean you look at Aaron Judge, he’s a specimen. There’s no doubt about it,” he said on WFAN’s “Moose and Maggie” show on Tuesday. “He’s not your normal-sized baseball player. So when he dives and he hits, you end up breaking — rib injuries or things like that, hitting a wall, those things are going to happen through the course of your career. Obviously, part of being a superstar is being able to take the field day in and day out.”
The Yankees’ star is nursing a rib issue
Judge is currently rehabbing a rib stress fracture he suffered last season while diving for a ball in the outfield. The healing process has been somewhat slow, and Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman believes Judge will be healthy at some point in the summer.
O’Neill thinks that 2020, that is if there is baseball to play, is such a critical season for Judge and the Yankees. The outfielder is a candidate for a massive contract extension, but being on the shelf will significantly diminish his earning potential.
And his injury issues are not limited to his rib. He has also suffered, during his career, shoulder, oblique and wrist ailments.
“I think it’s a big year for him, once he gets over this injury, to get through even if it’s a half-season,” O’Neill said. “Get the fans knowing that when they go to the ballpark, he’s in the lineup.”