With a couple of weeks-worth of Spring Training action in the books and as Opening Day is closer and closer, we must take a moment to appreciate the display Aaron Judge has been putting on. Judge this spring in just 30 at bats has collected 10 hits, four of them being doubles and six of them leaving the yard. It is no secret that Judge will be a serious power threat in the middle of the lineup for the New York Yankees. Sure, he will strikeout a decent amount. However, his ability to get on base and hit moonshots with ease will be keep opposing pitchers on edge. Not to mention the protection he has in the lineup.
Judge was the story of the entire sport for at least a good portion of 2017. Having 30 homeruns and a batting average of nearly .330 at the All-Star break, conversations were already stirring up of him being the face of baseball. While I personally thought that was a bit of a stretch given his rookie status, at the time it was hard to pinpoint exactly who was more talked about in such a positive way. Judge finished the 2017 campaign leading the league in runs, homeruns and runs and finished second in the American League Most Valuable Player award. Had it not been for a rough patch following the All-Star break, Judge could have very well been crowned MVP.
Judge in his sophomore season was not quite on an MVP-like tear, but he was consistent and still good. He was sidelined for a while with an injury which certainly hurt what his stats could have been. Judge, like presumably everyone on the New York Yankees, is coming into 2019 hungry and ready to perform and dominate. He is showing his midseason form already this Spring and showing the baseball world that he is ready to try and carry this team to their first championship in ten years.
While no one should get too carried away about Spring Training numbers, they are still very good signs. If he is hitting the ball hard, seeing the ball well and ultimately making good decisions at the plate the Yankees will be happy.
Now the question is, could Judge be a legitimate candidate for an MVP? Since he proven already, he has the raw ability to accomplish such a feat, but he is also playing on the big market team in the New York Yankees. He has plenty of protection in the lineup that is bound to at least clinch a spot in the postseason. While pre-season predictions are as far-fetched as it gets, if you must pick someone to win the Most Valuable Player award in the American League this year you really cannot go wrong with Aaron Judge.