MLB Network took the crew out to Spring Training in Tampa Bay, Florida to take a look at how the New York Yankees are preparing for another season with “World Series Or Bust” dreams. It’s been 13 years since the Yankees won a pennant. It’s the third longest drought in franchise history. 

Noone knows this better than Aaron Judge, who led the Yankees to a formidable 99 wins and an AL East crown last season before falling to their Achilles heel, Houston Astros in the ALCS. Judge compiled one of the greatest statistical seasons in MLB history. The 2022 AL MVP batted .311 with 62 homers, 131 RBI, a .425 OBP, .686 slugging and 2011 OPS+ in 157 games played. Judge’s OPS + was the highest for a right-handed batter since 1946 (post WW II). 

Lauren Shehadi and Carlos Peña interviewed the newly minted Yankees captain who is $360M richer after cashing in this offseason. They covered several topics. 


Facets Of His Game That Needs Improving? 

“Last year I really tried to focus on base running and getting into scoring position a lot, especially hitting at the top of the lineup,” Judge said. “This year just contact rate, an improved two strike approach in situational hitting. That’s what wins ballgames down the stretch.  When you’ve got ducks on a pond you’ve got to drive those guys in.”


Why Is Being An Elite Defender So important?

“I just want to be a complete player,” said Judge. “I know everybody is busting their butts on the field and grinding especially with this pitch clock now we’re going to be working overtime trying to get through innings. I just want to make sure that if a ball is hit my way, I can do everything in my power to make the play for them…Even growing up as a kid it was always about being a complete player.”


Judge also reiterated how much of a blessing it is to be able to wear the legendary pinstripes and perform in front of Yankees fans every night.

MLB Network studio analyst Alex Aliva and Brutha Broadcaster Cameron Maybin offered their two cents on what they predict for the Paul Bunyan of baseball in 2023.


“It’s not unreasonable” that Judge hits 65 homers.” Maybin said. Though he cautioned that Judge’s 2022 is a hard act to follow.  

“How can you do better? He says he wants to get on base more if he gets on base anymore, he’s going to score 150 runs. it’s hard for him to duplicate or be better than that.”

More realistically, Maybin said he envisions Judge hitting in the 50-homer range.


“I think he’s that kind of hitter.” Maybin insisted. “He talks about situational hitting and putting the ball in play. These are the things that win you championships. So when you hear Aaron Judge talk about that, he’s creating the mindset for the whole entire team not just himself”


The Yankees have been victims of the swing-and-miss, failing to push runs across at crucial moments late in games through means other than the homerun, so Judge’s comments on situational hitting shows he’s locked in on what the Yankees need to do to get over the hump. 


Compares Aaron Judge To Miggy Cabrera

Avila was also very complimentary towards Judge and compared him to Miguel Cabrera at a similar stage in Miggy’s career.


“When you get to the caliber of player that Aaron’s at right now. It reminds me of playing with Miggy when he was in his prime and posting MVP seasons each year. You expect those types of years. For Aaron it’s more about figuring out the little things to win a game – the things that help you win”


Judge does average 49 homers over 162 games, so that projection is not farfetched. 


Yankees Soul Patrol Has Life 

The Yankees projected starting lineup features three MLBbros in Judge, who will remain the everyday right fielder with Harrison Bader assuming center field duties. MLBbro Giancarlo Stanton and his guaranteed 30 bombs will DH and can pinch in with outfield duty if needed. Aaron Hicks seems to have survived the storm and is slated to return to the starting lineup in leftfield.

Some new faces in new places, but the fate of the Yankees rides on the all-around dominance of Judge.

Share This