The Yankees are watching their best player take the offense by storm

MLB: Seattle Mariners at New York Yankees, aaron judge
Brad Penner-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The start of the 2024 regular season was not ideal for Yankees‘ star slugger Aaron Judge. Known for his ability to send pitches sailing over the outfield wall, Judge found himself missing by mere millimeters and struggling to connect as he normally would. This frustration culminated in his first ejection of the season a few weeks ago. Since that pivotal moment, however, Judge has transformed his performance, single-handedly driving the Yankees’ offense.

A Return to MVP Form

Despite a brief slump, Judge, surrounded by talents like 25-year-old phenom Juan Soto and promising leadoff hitter Anthony Volpe, quickly bounced back. Now ranking in the 100th percentile in expected weighted on-base average (xwOBA), expected slugging (xSLG), average exit velocity, barrel percentage, and hard-hit percentage, Judge is dispelling any concerns about regression.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees, aaron judge
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Through the first 52 games, he has boasted a .276/.416/.611 slash line, smashing 15 home runs and driving in 35 runs. His strikeout rate is at a career-low 24.1%, complemented by an 18.5% walk rate and a weighted runs created plus (wRC+) of 186, signaling his performance is 86% above the MLB average. Additionally, he has accumulated 3.0 wins above replacement (WAR), setting him on a trajectory to possibly exceed nine WAR if his dominance continues.

Even with runners in scoring position, where his batting average dips to .233, Judge maintains a .414 on-base percentage and a .949 on-base plus slugging (OPS), demonstrating his knack for clutch performances. His recent stats over the past 30 days include a .365 batting average, a .504 on-base percentage, and a staggering 1.358 OPS, alongside 12 homers and 24 RBIs.

Defensively, Judge has also excelled, playing 337.2 innings in center field without an error and recording one defensive run saved. His impeccable defense, combined with his offensive resurgence, underscores his integral role in the Yankees’ lineup.

The Yankees’ Dynamic Duo

When synchronized with Soto, Judge helps create an offensive powerhouse that is nearly impossible to suppress. Their recent performances have helped the Yankees maintain a formidable presence despite occasional lapses in the bullpen. Even when faced with tough series, such as the recent games against the Mariners, where they suffered two close losses, Judge’s contributions keep the team competitive and poised for success.

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