The New York Yankees needed the best version of superstar slugger Aaron Judge during the postseason, but they’ve gotten half of what they bargained for over eight playoff games.
Judge justified a monster contract extension with one of the best regular season campaigns in the history of the game, hitting .311 with a 42.5% on-base rate, 62 homers, and 131 RBIs. He’s in line to earn upward of $35 million per season, but Judge’s playoff numbers have completely deteriorated.
It is quite surprising that Judge went 162 games without losing his form, but the very second postseason baseball began, his numbers were cut by more than half.
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The Yankees need more from Aaron Judge but it’s too little, too late:
Across eight playoff games, Judge is hitting .156 with an 18.2% on-base rate and a .344 slugging percentage. He’s hit two homers with three RBIs, striking out 14 times over 32 at-bats. In fact, he has just one hit in his last three games and hasn’t gotten base more than once. He struck out at a 42.4% rate and walked just 3%, indicating that opposing teams are clearly attacking him and pitching him aggressively.
This is undoubtedly one of the more disappointing performances from a player about to make an egregious amount of money in the off-season.
Defensively, Judge has been solid and showed off his athleticism, but failing to appear during the playoffs in regard to his offense once again may hurt his stock slightly. Historically, Judge hasn’t been a great playoff hitter, batting .216 with a 31.3% on-base rate, including 13 homers and 25 RBIs across 43 games.
Ultimately, regular season numbers don’t matter if you can’t perform when during elimination rounds, and that is a variable that the Yankees and other teams will consider when looking to sign him over the winter.
Of course, that factor won’t play enough of a part to diminish the production he showed this season, but when the Yankees needed their best player most, he failed to make an impact. He just barely missed a home run in Game 2 of the ALCS in Houston late in the game, falling just short due to windy conditions.
Superior pitching is Judge’s kryptonite at the end of the day, and playoff-caliber teams mostly have elite-level starters. With that being said, the Yankees’ most disappointing playoff performer has been Judge, and that is a disappointing reality given the contract he’s about to get in free agency.