For the first half of this season the rookie stud outfielder for the New York Yankees Aaron Judge took Major League Baseball by storm. In first half, Judge’s stat line was .329/.448/.691. He also led the league with 30 home runs, 75 runs scored (2nd) and 66 RBIs (2nd).
According to FanGraphs WAR, the best rookie season ever is held by Mike Trout in 2012 with a 10.3 WAR at the end of the season. At the break, Aaron Judge held a 5.5 WAR in 86 games, if he were to keeps up his pace he will end the season with a 10.4 WAR, edging out Mike Trout for the best rookie season in MLB history.
However, Judge has had an extremely rocky start to the second half the season. Since returning from the All-Star Break Judge has went 1-21 in 5 games, dropping his stat line from .329/.448/.691 to .311/.432/.649. Judge’s one hit came off of a infield single, however, he also crushed a ball deep into the triangle of Fenway Park only to be robbed of a home run by Jackie Bradley Jr, who made a stunning catch. Judge’s hard-hit rate in the first half of the season was 25%, since the start of the second half it has also dropped to 10%.
In Judge’s most recent game verses the Twins he went 0-3 with a strikeout and a walk. Even though he is struggling at the plate, he is not struggling in the field. During the game, Miguel Sano hit a fly ball into right field, Judge caught the ball and Brian Dozier tagged up from 3rd base. Judge fired the ball to home plate, throwing out the speedy Dozier for a double play. Judge’s throw was clocked at 97.7 mph.
The Home Run Derby has been to blame for years by sluggers who start the second half in a slump. Judge doesn’t think so, on July 10th, he said “I don’t think it has anything to do with it at all.” Yankees Skipper Joe Girardi addressed his young slugger’s struggles after Sunday’s loss in Boston, “It’s going to happen at some point. You’er going to have a tough three or four days, five days.”
Judge needs to get focused and start hitting the baseball before first place in the division gets out of reach. The Yankees are currently 3.5 games back in the AL East.