New York Yankees star Aaron Judge was candid in his assessment of where the team dropped the ball en route to their first time missing the MLB playoffs since 2016.
Aaron Judge takes shot at analytics department
ESPN shared Judge’s sentiments on early struggles, throwing off the Yankees’ rhythm and putting them in a position of catch-up as the year wore on.
“We were winning series [early in the season], but we weren’t finishing off teams that we should be sweeping and beating. We just couldn’t get that last final game against them. So I think, really, it’s just the urgency out of spring training to really start off hot, especially when you play in the AL East.”Aaron Judge via ESPN
Over the course of 162 games, it can be easy for teams to let games get past them early. New York was 45-36 at the halfway mark of this year.
However, they’ve had other slow starts since their dominant stretch in the American League dating back to 2017. In 2017 — their first time reaching the ALCS since 2012 — they were 44-37 approaching the All-Star break. In 2021, the Yankees were 41-40 midway through the season.
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In both situations, New York was able to finish strong and win 90 or more games. That was not the case this time around, and Judge is already looking forward to making the most of the offseason and putting their foot on the gas to start 2024.
Judge found fault with the Yankees’ outlook of analytics, acknowledging their first-class organization’s ability to crunch numbers, but perhaps not in the most pressing areas.
The offense struggled with the No. 22 slug percentage of .397 in the MLB. Their ability, or lack thereof, to get on base hurt their production. This came despite having a wealth of opportunities as they saw the most total pitches in the league.
Injuries to the Yankees’ top guns helped precipitate their down year. Judge and Giancarlo Stanton were forced to miss an excess of 60 games, while 1B Anthony Rizzo hasn’t seen action since Aug. 1.
The 2023 season can be looked at as an anomaly for a team that has developed a lengthy playoff track record and still has top talent on their roster and farming system. No threat to coach Boone’s job security has been reported, and it is expected that he, Judge, and general manager Brian Cashan will work closely in righting the ship for 2024.