As I watch highlights of New York Yankees young right fielder Aaron Judge, I think about who he reminds me of. At 6’7” tall, Frank “Hondo” Howard comes to mind. Howard was such a feared slugger in his day that he was intentionally walked one time with the bases loaded. Howard had some serious power, as does Judge, but he was gangly and not particularly athletic. Judge is athletic.
Dave Winfield also comes to mind. A couple of inches shorter, Winfield was more graceful than Howard, but I don’t believe that he had the raw power that Aaron Judge possesses. So who else comes to mind? Let’s look at Judge’s numbers first.
He is batting .344 tops in the American League. He has 21 home runs – again tops in the American League. He has 47 RBI’s and you know where that puts him… He is leading in all three Triple Crown categories and that may not be the most imposing aspect of his story.
On Saturday Aaron Judge hit the hardest ball ever recorded since exit velocity has been a stat. The pitch was an 85 mph slider and it left his bat at 121.1 mph. It also dropped over the left field fence – in a hurry. Yesterday he hit a home run to left field that was measured at 496′. Only Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins hit one farther and that was in Coors Field where the thin air does tend to make the ball travel longer distances. Just for good measure Judge then hit a second home run to right center field for his league leading 21st dinger.
Several years ago I asked some students at New Riegel who they would go see if they could attend a game involving one special player. The most common response was Nolan Ryan. A good choice considering he had a chance to throw a no hitter every time he toed the rubber. My answer was Bo Jackson. I picked him because he was most likely to do something incredible, be it a home run blast, a great catch, a dash around the bases or a marvelous throw.
That’s why my comparison for young Mr. Judge would be Bo. An incredible physical specimen, Judge is extremely talented and could wow you in many different facets of the game.
The view from my seat suggests that if you get a chance to see Aaron Judge play, you better take advantage of it. You could be a witness to history!