New York Yankees: Aaron Judge Prepared To Make Run At 2019 MVP Title

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

With the New York Yankees taking a home run-centric approach to their offense, slugger Aaron Judge will only benefit in the season ahead. The young outfielder has proven that he’s more than capable of being a top-tier player at the professional level.

His 2017 season earned him runner-up consideration for the MVP while he easily earned the Rookie of the Year and All-Star accolades. His ability at the plate centers around homers, as he launched 52 in his best season to date. He also had an on-base percentage of over 1.000 (1.049).

The New York Yankees suffered due to Aaron Judge’s lingering ailment:

Last year, a broken wrist forced him out for nearly nine weeks as he scraped together another productive season with 27 homers and a .278 batting average. If he were healthy the entire season there’s no question Judge could have broken 40 homers for a second consecutive campaign.

Judge stated that even after he returned the fractured wrist had not completely healed, but he wasn’t going to sit idly by as his team progressed through the playoffs. The 2019 season represents a different opportunity. With a full bill of health and the appropriate upgrades made to the batting order and bullpen, Judge will have plenty of support as the team endures the inevitable cold streaks.

Can Aaron Judge earn MVP honors?

What we’ve seen from Judge has barely scraped the surface of his potential. That statement alone scares me and I’m lucky enough to have him on the team I root for.

The Yankees are just tapping the keg on Judge’s abilities, and it all starts with his hitting. Being a slugger inevitably forces batters to sacrifice their strikeout rate for home runs. With Judge, he has the talent to cut down on his strikeouts and increase his contact percentage, something that Giancarlo Stanton will seemingly never be able to do.

Judge struck out a high 1.34 times per game in 2017, and 1.35 times in 2018. So, his strikeout rate actually increased last season, but he also played injured for the final few months which could have played a part in the slight increase.

That will be an interesting stat to keep an eye on, as an increase in contact but maintaining consistency in regard to home runs could be the difference in earning MVP consideration or not. However, last season he did see a major increase in doubles (22 in 112 games) compared to 24 in 155 games (2017). That indicates an elevation in quality contact.

Additional info:

On Sunday, the Yankees played the Detroit Tigers in their 8th game of the Grapefruit League. Judge smacked two homers, one a solo shot to right and the other a double to right. Two opposite field homers. That fact alone should tell us something about the form he’s in and his impressive contact.