Aaron Judge is coming off a historic season after breaking Roger Maris’ American League home run record in 2022. But last year’s AL Most Valuable Player is chasing history again at the peak of his career.
Forty-five games into the ’23 season, Judge is batting .302, with a 1.087 OPS, 17 homers, 39 runs scored, and 39 RBI. In every category except for average (.304 in ’22) and homers (17), the MLBbro is surpassing his numbers from last year’s headlining performance.
New #MLBbro Flow Video:
No. 99 Is The Anthem ! Check out @MLBbroPODCAST for Beats & Baseball, The Soundtrack Of The Season ⚾️⚾️🔥🔥💥
— MLBbro.com (@MLBbrodotcom) May 27, 2023
After being named the Yankees’ 16th captain in the offseason and just the third Black Yankees captain since World Series champions Derek Jeter and Willie Randolph, the expectations are higher than ever for Judge to succeed.
“For me, I feel good about passing the torch or the legacy because the attributes that I think you need as a captain, that’s what he embodies,” Randolph said about Judge being named captain.
“To me, when I got the captaincy, I felt like I was the captain years before that. I don’t mean that arrogantly or whatever. But what I was doing behind the scenes and in quiet, I felt like I was the leader of the club. I see (Aaron) the same way with that. That’s why I was hoping he would come back. When you’ve got teammates like him who really cares for his teammates, genuinely, because there are some guys that put on a little bit of a fraud when it comes to that. He’s not fake.”
How many more years will Judge be able to hit Bro Bombs consistently?
On his run to history last year, Judge hit 21 homers in 53 team games. This year, he sits at 18 blasts through 57 team games. The last MLBbro to have fewer homers entering the month of June and still hit 60 homers for the season was Sammy Sosa.
In 1998, through 57 games, Sosa had 18 homers as well, but he had just 13 entering the month of June and ended with 66 on the year. In 1999, Sosa had 19 homers at the 53-team game mark before becoming the first player to hit 60 homers in back-to-back seasons, finishing with 63. 2000 was a down year for Sosa as he hit just 50 homers, but he picked it back up in 2001 to hit 64 after hitting just 16 through 53 team games.
Judge is now in pursuit of becoming the first player since Sosa to hit 60 homers in back-to-back seasons and the first player to do so in the American League.
Putting behind him a tumultuous offseason that saw the 31-year-old outfielder nearly head out west before a 3 a.m. phone call from owner Hal Steinbrenner convinced the AL home run king to sign a nine-year, $360 million deal that will keep him in New York until he’s 40.
“It just came down to the relationship I have with Hal,” Judge said, “being able to call him up on the phone and say, ‘Hey, this is where I’m at. This is me just talking man to man to you. I’m showing you my cards, everything that is on the table. This is where we’re at. This is where I want to be at. Can we get this done?’”
His new contract and leadership role in the organization gives Judge plenty of time to pursue Sosa’s 179 homers over three seasons, and if he wants to climb even higher, Sosa has 243 jacks in four seasons.