AARON JAMES JUDGE
Image of The Judge
Nickname:   The Judge Position:   OF
Home: N/A Team:   YANKEES
Height: 6' 7" Bats:   R
Weight: 280 Throws:   R
DOB: 4/26/1992 Agent: N/A
Uniform #: 99  
Birth City: Linden, CA
Draft: Yankees #1 - 2013 - Out of Cal. State - Fresno
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO OBP SLG AVG
2013 - D.L.                                
2014 FSL TAMPA   66 233 44 66 9 2 8 33 0 0 50 72 .411 .442 .283
2014 SAL CHARLESTON   65 234 36 78 15 2 9 45 1 0 39 59 .428 .530 .333
2015 IL SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE   61 228 27 51 10 0 8 28 6 2 29 74 .308 .373 .224
2015 EL TRENTON   63 250 36 71 16 3 12 44 1 0 24 70 .350 .516 .284
2016 AL YANKEES   27 84 10 15 2 0 4 10 0 1 9 42 .263 .345 .179
2016 IL SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE   93 352 62 95 18 1 19 65 5 0 47 98 .366 .489 .270
2017 AL YANKEES $544.00 155 542 128 154 24 3 52 114 9 4 127 208 .422 .627 .284
Personal
  • Judge grew up in Linden, California, a no stop-light pinprick of an agricultural town 100 miles inland from San Francisco. He had an older brother and parents who were teachers. Aaron could go weeks without encountering a stranger.

    By the time he enrolled at Fresno State, he was a star outfielder who drew stares every time he entered a room. There is nowhere for a 6' 7," 282 pound man to hide. He is used to the feeling of eyes on him.

    Judge is the biggest position player, by body mass, in MLB history. (Stephanie Apstein - Sports Illustrated - 5/10/2017)

  • Aaron was always the biggest kid in his class while growing up. And his first love was basketball. There was a time when he considered football, too. As a senior at Linden (Calif.) High, Judge set school records for single-season receiving yards, single-season touchdowns and career touchdowns as a wide receiver.

    "My dad really excelled at basketball and when I was growing up, I wanted to be an NBA basketball player,” Aaron said. “But as I started growing up, I fell more in love with baseball and that became my true love.

    "The Lord has really blessed me," Judge said.

  • In 2010, Judge was the A's 31st-round draft pick, out of high school. But he chose a baseball scholarship to Fresno State. Both of his parents are alums and they are both teachers.

  • Scouts really began to take note of Judge when he ranked as the top prospect in the summer Alaska League following his freshman season at Fresno State.

    As a sophomore, he hit two homers in one game off Stanford's Mark Appel (who would become the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft), won the TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby and starred in the Cape Cod League the summer of 2012.

  • Aaron enjoys playing video games, basketball and working out.

  • Judge's combination of size and athleticism is so unusual for a baseball player that the comparison scouts make most is to NBA star Blake Griffin.

  • June 2013: The Yankees chose Judge with their second pick in the first round -- # 32 overall. And he signed for a $1.8 million bonus.
  • In 2014, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Judge as the 6th-best prospect in the Yankee organization. He was rated #3 in the spring of 2016 and #6 in 2017.

  • Spring 2014: "The impression of Aaron Judge is he is a tremendous ceiling," said Yankees scouting director Damon Oppenheimer. "He's an athlete, he's playing in the middle of the field right now, he has huge power, he has tremendous work ethic, and he's shown us the potential for all five tools to be pluses."

  • In 2015, Judge was selected to represent the Yankees in the All-Star Futures Game. Aaron has a good chance to become the best position prospect the Yankees have developed since Brett Gardner in 2005. He is the No. 1 prospect in the Yankees Top 30 Prospects list. (October 2015)

  • Aaron has a good head on his shoulders, and a guy teammates want to hang out with off the field. And his work habits are off the charts. He is a real professional. His composure is impressive.

  • Reggie Jackson provided some Hall of Fame comparisons for Judge, offering the names of Dave Winfield, Willie McCovey, and Willie Stargell. To general manager Brian Cashman, there is nothing wrong with dreaming big.

    Jackson told ESPN that he sees Judge as "the next great Yankee," comparing Judge's athleticism to Winfield, while flipping a few more Cooperstown analogies to describe Judge's presence at the plate.

    "He's got power like Stargell, McCovey," Jackson said. "Opposite-field power, which is the best power you can have. That allows you to wait on the ball. He has power like a guy from the '60s and '70s."

    Jackson has not been alone in offering gushing praise for Judge, who has also drawn comparisons to Marlin Giancarlo Stanton. Cashman said that there is little he can do to temper expectations for Judge.  (Hoch - mlb.com - 3/11/15)

  • Aaron was asked who his favorite player was, while growing up?

    "My dad talked about Dave Winfield. He was a bigger guy like I was, three-sport star. They said I would be big like him. I always followed him and looked at old videos, and just the way he held himself on and off the field, he was a class act. And living in California, I watched the Giants a lot, so guys like Jeff Kent, Barry Bonds, Rich Aurilia -- they were some of my favorites to watch," Judge said.

  • Superstitions?

    "During the game, gum. I have a big thing with gum. If I'm chewing a piece of gum and I go up and get a hit, I keep the gum. But if I get out, I gotta throw it away. That's one I've got," Judge said.

    How about something fans don't know: " I'm starting to learn how to play the piano. I just got a piano at my parents' house and I've been learning how to play in the offseason. Maybe in a couple years I'll be good," Aaron said.

  • MLB debut (August 13, 2016): Judge was just the second Yankee to homer in back-to-back games to start his career, joining Joe Lefebvre, who achieved the feat on May 22-23, 1980.

    Judge and Tyler Austin became the first pair of teammates to hit their first career home runs in their debut games and just the fourth and fifth Yankees to hit home runs in their first plate appearance or at-bat.

  • Q&A following debut season: Judge sat down for a question-and-answer with Record Editor Mike Klocke. (Feb. 2017)

    Record: Take us back to that Friday night in August, 2016. You'd just finished a Triple-A game in Rochester, New York, and were with your parents (longtime San Joaquin County educators Wayne and Patty Judge) at a restaurant when your manager told you that you were being called up to the majors. What went through your mind?

    Judge: There were a lot of emotions. I was a bit confused when I got the news. We were at probably the only restaurant open that late at night in Rochester. It was so shocking. Then we had to get in the car and drive five hours to New York (for the Yankees' day game on Saturday against Tampa). I just sat in the back seat. The time flew by as we drove to New York.

    Record: You arrived for some pageantry. The Yankees were honoring their 1996 World Champions that day, so that meant Derek Jeter, Paul O'Neill, Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte and others. That's not a typical atmosphere for a major-league debut.

    Judge: After I got there I was so busy. I had to sign a contract, get my locker and handle some other details. They brought Tyler Austin up for his debut that day, so we were both going through it. The moment when we walked through (the tunnel) and emerged onto the field was amazing. Yankee Stadium. And then all of those legendary Yankees were there being honored.

    Record: We'll get to your first at-bat later. But before that, you had to make a defensive play in the top of the first inning.

    Judge: Yeah, we got two quick outs and I thought to myself, "That's good, I'll get out of the first inning without making a play." But then (Evan) Longoria hit a slicing drive to deep right. I went back on the warning track and caught it and then bumped into the wall. It made me feel like, "yeah, I'm in the game."

    Record: Then you're on deck when Tyler Austin comes up to bat. His first in the Majors. He goes opposite field for a home run.

    Judge: It was a great moment. Tyler fouled off some tough pitches and then got one out to right field. The fans went wild. He's a good friend, and I felt great to see him rounding the bases. But then I had to snap out of it. I was up to bat next. It was strange, but once I got into the batter's box I was no longer nervous. I just wanted to make contact and get that first major-league at-bat done. (Tampa pitcher Matt Andriese) threw me something off-speed, maybe a change-up. I figured, "OK, I made contact and got a fly ball." But it just kept carrying until it went out. I was running hard to first base, but then I almost tripped over second base

    Record: I would imagine there's quite a difference between growing up in Linden and then living in New York City. What was it like for you?

    Judge: It's amazing, and I tried to take advantage of experiencing all I could in the city. I asked one of the clubbies (clubhouse attendants) the best way to get to know New York and he told me, "Just go out and explore and experience it by yourself." I did that a lot. The city is so diverse that you can blend in with the crowds.

    Rat you served as the Yankees' clubhouse dee-jay. That you livened things up a bit with your music.

    Judge: (Laughing) We always played music in the clubhouse when I was in the minors. They didn't have any music in New York. It was very quiet. We played a song after one of the games. Then it just kind of took off and I started playing some more music after our wins.

  • Aaron has a powerful bat. His 10 home runs in April 2017, which tied a rookie record for the month, can attest to that. But his personality tells you something different.

    Judge walks quietly near his locker, has a smile on his face, and greets everyone with a hello. At the same time, Judge seems reluctant to talk about himself. His numbers prove there is nothing to be shy about. These days, Judge is the straw that stirs the drink.  

    When he was asked about his success on the field, Judge gave all the credit to his teammates.  "[I'm successful because] it's the team that I'm on," Judge said. "I'm surrounded by good players, a mix of veteran guys, we have a good mix of young talented players. For me, I'm just in the perfect position right now. [Almost] every single time I'm at the plate, I've had guys on base. We have a lot of guys in the lineup that make things happen."

    There are people in the Yankees' organization who are willing to sing Judge's praises. Take manager Joe Girardi: Judge hasn't been in the league a full season, and his skipper is already comparing his star player with Yankees legend Derek Jeter.

    "He's a little bit like Derek, to me," Girardi said of Judge. "He's got a smile all the time. He loves to play the game. You always think that he's going to do the right thing on the field and off the field when you look at him. He's got a presence about him. He plays the game to win all the time. That's the most important thing. It's not about what you did that day.

    "I understand that's a big comparison, but I remember Derek when he was young. He grew into that leadership role, but that was Derek. Derek loved to have fun, loved to laugh and loved to play the game. Always had a smile on his face and was energetic, and that's what I see from this kid. I see him doing things the right way on the field and off the field, and that's the way Derek was as well when he was young."  (Ladson - mlb.com - 5/1/17)

  • Teammate Didi Gregorius noticed a difference in Judge's approach at the plate in 2017. It's rare that Judge is swinging at pitcher's pitches.

    "He means a lot to the team and everybody can see what he can do. He's got to keep that up. Just keep it simple like he has. … He is a big part of the team," Gregorius said. "He is laying off all the nasty pitches. That's the main thing that's going on. He is more selective and he puts his 120-mph swing on the ball."

    One thing is certain: Judge doesn't feel the pressure of playing in New York. Nothing seems to faze him. He credits the Yankees' organization for preparing him for the big city.

    "The New York Yankees' organization -- they train us well from the get-go," Judge said. "They tell us how to handle everything. This is the biggest media market. A lot of people love to watch the Yankees. They just prepared us well for the situation. When we come up here, it's like second nature. Nothing is a surprise to us.

    "I love the city of New York. It's kind of fun. I grew up in the country, so I'm getting a little change of pace. The city has been great. Playing in front of these fans has been amazing. They are always yelling. They are always screaming. They are always on their feet. They have a lot of good energy that we can feed off of."  (Ladson - mlb.com - 5/1/17)

  • Aaron's power was on display in April and early May 2017.  But don't let the big power distract you from the small means by which he has become the most valuable player on the surprisingly unstoppable Yankees.

    Judge -- a player whose ceiling had seemed somewhat limited (ironically) by his tall body, ample strike zone and huge strikeout rate in his small big league sample last season -- has had as large an individual impact as any player in the Majors in the first month of action. And though Statcast™ tells us he has had nine batted balls with an exit velocity of 115 mph, while the rest of MLB has just 16 combined, his Major League-leading 2.5 Wins Above Replacement mark, per Baseball Reference, isn't based on dinger distance.

    No, Judge has been brilliant on both sides of the ball, to say nothing of the immeasurables that have led Yankee personnel and pundits to throw out Derek Jeter comps.  "Very, very poised individual," Yankees bench coach Rob Thomson said. "We saw it last year when he was striking out in close to half his at-bats. He walked into the clubhouse with his chest out and chin up every day. You really get a feel for people when they're not playing well."

    Judge had a .179/.263/.345 slash line in his first 95 plate appearances in the bigs, striking out 44.2 percent of the time. This was nowhere near as serious an issue, but he also had negative defensive metrics (-1 defensive runs saved) in 216 innings in right field.  

    All that time, Judge wasn't fretting his early foibles but learning from them.  "I'm not afraid to fail," Judge said. "You can't have all the good without the bad. That's how sports work and how life works."  

    Example: When Judge got to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2015, the Yanks' coaches talked to him about implementing some mechanical changes to improve his timing. But they wanted to wait until the offseason to address them because they didn't want to affect his rhythm in what was, at the time, a strong offensive season.

    "I told them, 'Hey guys, I'd rather work on it now than in the offseason,'" Judge said. "'Let me struggle now so I can come into '16 and do better.' It's constant growth."  Judge's growth in 2017 is in his drastic minimization of his chase rate (from 33.6 percent to 24.2 percent, per FanGraphs) and improvement of his contact rate (from 60.2 to 70.5).

    A scout who saw Judge regularly in Double-A and Triple-A admitted he's shocked at how quickly Judge has made this adjustment. But when told Judge has been worth six defensive runs saved (the most of any right fielder and the most of any outfielder not named Kevin Kiermaier), he was less surprised.

    "This guy's an athlete," the scout said. "He's not just a big guy, he's an athlete -- a coordinated athlete that gets decent jumps on the ball." Dedication is what will allow this early-season star to stick.  (Castrovince - mlb.com - 5/10/17)

  • When Aaron goes back to his family's home in Linden, Calif., he jokes that he should make time to doublecheck the closet in his parents' bedroom, surprised that a Superwoman cape hasn't surfaced at some point over the past 25 years.

    While Judge possesses a hulking build that appears to have been stripped from the pages of a comic book, his mother, Patty, represents the true strength behind the slugger. Judge said that his mom has influenced every decision that he has ever made, describing her as an incredibly caring individual.

    "I know I wouldn't be a New York Yankee if it wasn't for my mom," Judge said. "The guidance she gave me as a kid growing up, knowing the difference from right and wrong, how to treat people, and how to go the extra mile and put in extra work, all that kind of stuff. She's molded me into the person that I am today."

    On a recent afternoon -- hours before he was in the lineup for a game at Yankee Stadium -- Judge said that he had just hung up the phone with his mom, who had been doing some yard work.

    On 2017 Mother's Day, Judge said that he plans to send his mother flowers and a card, then will call to tell her what he always does. "I'll just thank her again for everything she's done, and tell her again I know I wouldn't be in the position I am now if it wasn't for her love and guidance," Judge said. (Hoch – mlb.com – 5/12/17)

  • When Joe Girardi recently paid Judge a compliment of the highest pinstriped order, comparing his presence and personality to that of Derek Jeter, Judge said that he was honored, but that he was simply trying to be "the best Aaron Judge I can be." That mission started about 100 miles northeast of San Francisco, where Judge took his first cues from Patty and Wayne Judge, recently retired schoolteachers who ensured that education was a priority in their son's young life.

    "It's helped me try to live to a higher standard," Judge said. "They wanted me to always make sure I put education first and make sure I prioritized everything. If I was going to make plans, stick to them. Make sure I'm on a tight schedule and make sure I don't miss anything."

    Not that Judge was always so understanding, something that he laughs about now.

    "I wanted to go outside and play with my friends or play some video games, but they were tough on me," Judge said. "They'd say, 'Hey, you've got homework to do. You've got to finish your math homework and science homework. Then if you have time left over before dinner, you can go play.' Something like that. I didn't like it as a kid, but looking back on it, I really appreciate what they did for me."

    Judge was adopted by his parents, Patty and Wayne, the day after he was born in April 1992. He has an older brother, John, who has also become a teacher. Judge was in elementary school when he asked why he and his parents did not look alike.

    "I think it was like, 'I don't look like you, Mom. I don't look like you, Dad. Like, what's going on here?'" Judge said. "They just kind of told me I was adopted. I was like, 'OK, that's fine with me.' You're still my mom, the only mom I know. You're still my dad, the only dad I know.

    "Nothing really changed. I honestly can't even remember too much, because it wasn't that big of a deal. They just told me I was adopted, and I said, 'OK, can I go outside and play?'"

    Judge said that he still speaks with his parents every day. (Hoch – mlb.com – 5/12/17)

  • Aaron stormed the baseball world in 2017. The large adult son/rookie was an absolute revelation. He'd blasted a Major League-leading 15 home runs by May 22, 2017 and had put to rest any questions about his penchant for striking out in the Minors. He's even shown off his 6-foot-7 frame in the outfield with a series of amazing catches.  

    It inspired some truly invested fans to show up in judges' robes and white wigs. Now, the Yankees have made it official. With faux wood paneling to resemble a courtroom's jury box, the team has officially marked three rows in section 104 as the "Judge's Chambers."  

    "It's pretty cool," Judge said. "When you come to a game, it's supposed to be fun for the players and the fans. I feel like it might be something that's fun for the fans out there."

    As to whether he was asked about it beforehand:  "They just brought it up to me and said 'Hey, this is what we're going to do.' They're going to put out a section and call it Judge's Chambers and give them little judge outfits and we'll see what happens. I think it turned out great."

    Judge was also pretty surprised to already have a permanent spot in the stadium:  "It's pretty unreal. I never would have thought so soon. But the fans like it, so I'm glad they're having fun."

    Brett Gardner also appreciated the new attraction:  "I think it's great. Obviously, the fans get excited about seeing him play on both sides of the ball. I might go up there early when I get to the field tomorrow before BP and check it out. I think it's a good addition."

    While fans in the Judge's Chambers will get a good view of the rookie in right field, if you want to snag one of Judge's rulings (what we should be calling his home runs), your best bet is in left field -- even if the slugger has managed to hit dingers to every part of the yard. (Clair & Hoch - mlb.com - 5/22/17)

  • Aaron spent the 2017 season living out of two suitcases in an Art Deco hotel in the heart of Times Square. Why hasn't he looked for an apartment yet?

    "I don't want to put all my cards that I'm going to be in New York and then I go to Triple-A," Judge says. "Maybe next year, if everything goes well."

    His lobby is one of the few places he can watch people, tourists who aren't watching him. He hears a different language seemingly every time he rides the elevator. This place could not be less like teeny Linden, California, where Aaron grew up.

    But his favorite part of the Times Square location, he explains eagerly, is that "if I want to get frozen yogurt at 12 o'clock at night, I can do it." (Stephanie Apstein - Sports Illustrated - 5/10/2017)

  • June 17, 2017: The homecoming weekend for Yankees sensation Aaron Judge continued at the Coliseum.

    Judge grew up in Linden, Calif., which is about 75 miles east of Oakland. While fans from the area made it to the Coliseum for the two previous games, the largest contingent was on hand, with Judge requesting around 150 tickets. Two buses of people came to the game, and Judge said his entire church community was coming, too.

    "It's great. I'm excited to see some family and friends," said Judge, who met with a contingent for 10 minutes before the game. "A lot of people supporting me and helping me along the way, and a lot of people are going to be at the games this weekend. I'm excited for that."

    The A's selected Judge in the 31st round of the 2010 MLB Draft, a few weeks after Judge came to the Coliseum to participate in a prospect workout. It was the first time Judge had ever hit in a Major League park, leaving an impression on the then 18-year-old.

    "It's a big park. Getting a chance to hit on the field was pretty cool," Judge said. "The day flew by, to be honest. I was nervous. I was trying to put on a good show. But I enjoyed every minute of it, and it was the best field I had played on at the time."

    And Aaron felt a little extra satisfaction in knocking one over the wall in the first Major League stadium he hit in.

    "Yeah, it is," Judge said with a smile and a laugh. "It is." (A Simon - MLB.com - June 17, 2017)

  • Aaron couldn't help but smile at reporters when he answered questions about his chipped tooth, amused that it became a bigger story than the Yankees' walk-off win the night before.

    "I tried to rush off the field before anyone would notice," Judge said. "But there's a lot of cameras around."

    Judge first clarified that he was fine after having dental work done on his front left tooth. The tooth chipped when Brett Gardner's helmet was knocked out of Judge's hand and into his face during the Yankees' walk-off celebration. It turns out, Judge took the blow, in part, because he was trying to prevent his teammates from getting hurt as they mobbed Gardner at home plate.

    After the clubhouse closed to the media, a Yankees security guard was outside combing the area around home plate for Judge's tooth. The search was for naught, though, as nobody found it, Judge said.

    Judge said he took one picture of his chipped-tooth mouth that night, but he said he'll "keep that for myself."  (Martell - mlb.co - 7/28/17)

  • Aaron has racked up quite a few accolades during his remarkable 2017 season, from an All-Star selection to a Home Run Derby crown to his very own fan section. But despite that barrage of dingers, he was still missing out on one particular prize: his very own championship belt.

    Luckily, Alexa Bliss, Braun Strowman and Big Cass of the WWE stopped by Yankee Stadium prior Tuesday's Mets-Yankees game to fix that.  Judge was awarded the WWE championship belt!

    Sure, the belt is generally reserved for World Series champions and Cy Young Award winners, but when you can hit a baseball off of a ballpark roof, they're willing to make an exception.  (Landers - mlb.com - 8/16/17)

  • Aaron was asked what would be his occupation if he wasn't a baseball player.

    "I'd be a teacher, just like my parents. I like helping people and teaching kids and teaching people. It seems pretty rewarding," Judge said.

  • Nick Swisher was a pretty productive presence in the Yankee lineup for the 4 years 2009-2012, with 105 homers, 134 doubles, an .850 OPS and countless utterances of "awesome" and "bro." Swisher's enthusiasm and output was, by and large, a very good thing for the Bronx Bombers.

    But in a funny twist of fate, Swish's greatest contribution to the Yanks might end up being Aaron Judge himself. And it's their October, 2017 ALDS opponent, the Indians, who unwittingly supported the "swap."  Judge was taken out of Fresno State with the No. 32 overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft -- a pick the Yankees had received as compensation when Swisher signed with the Tribe as a free agent before the 2013 season.

    "Cash [Yankees general manager Brian Cashman] showed some confidence in the scouting department and the process that we're involved in," said Yankees scouting director Damon Oppenheimer, "to let a Major League player with really high value leave, hoping we would turn it into something that had as much or more value."

    Now, before you jump to conclusions, no, had the Indians not signed Swisher (or, for that matter, Michael Bourn, another free-agent foray that cost them a pick that winter), they still wouldn't have landed Judge, a viable 2017 AL MVP candidate and as obvious an AL Rookie of the Year choice as any in the history of the honor. The Indians didn't directly surrender No. 32. The pick they gave up was in the second round. So Judge likely would not have fallen to them, though they did like him.

    "One of our scouts liked him over [No. 1 overall pick Mark] Appel, which is crazy to think about," Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said. "It's not necessarily how we had him on our board, but one of our scouts felt strongly about it. There were some questions about his size, but he also did a lot of things really well, and he was renowned for having a great makeup."

    Judge's 6-foot-7 frame in a game in which very few position players of that size have logged meaningful careers (Frank Howard, Richie Sexson and Tony Clark are the extent of the list) made him an unknown, even by baseball Draft standards.

    "People have a hard time dealing with things outside the norm when it comes to scouting in baseball," Oppenheimer said. "That's why the [Jose] Altuves of the world and Judges of the world aren't always the consensus."

    Judge wasn't even the Yankees' first choice in that general realm of selections in 2013. This is where the since-altered compensation system came into play. The Yankees' "real" pick in that Draft was at No. 26. They gained No. 32 because of the Swisher signing and No. 33 because reliever Rafael Soriano signed with the Nationals. This proliferation of picks made it easier for the Yanks to take the calculated gamble on Judge.

    With No. 26, they went with the seemingly safer selection of Notre Dame third baseman Eric Jagielo (who would later become fodder in the trade with the Reds for Aroldis Chapman). Then they nervously watched and waited through five more picks (Phillip Ervin to the Reds, Rob Kaminsky to the Cardinals, Ryne Stanek to the Rays, Travis Demeritte to the Rangers and Jason Hursh to the Braves) before, finally, Judge was sitting there waiting for them at No. 32. They took left-hander Ian Clarkin, who was later utilized in the trade for David Robertson, Tommy Kahnleand Todd Frazier, with the following compensation pick for Soriano.

    "It's always nice to have the opportunity of multiple picks," Oppenheimer said. "But I think our process of evaluation and the depth of the evaluation gave us the comfort level [to pick Judge]." Anthony Castrovince - MLB.com - 10/08/2017)

  • Judge is superstitious. It begins just moments before first pitch -- with a superstition. Judge pops two pieces of Dubble Bubble sugar-free bubblegum in his mouth. Until he makes an out, he'll continue to chew it. If he picks up a hit in his first at-bat, it stays in. Another hit, and he keeps chewing. Another ---.

    "Hopefully, by the end of the night, I have a nasty, old, unflavored piece of gum in my mouth," Judge says.

    Aaron started the tasteless tradition in college and he doesn't plan on changing it. His outs do have a sweet ending, because if he makes one, he throws away the old gum and takes two fresh pieces. If he goes 3-for-3 and the game has a four-hour pace, Judge will just keep gnawing on the old gum, with no thought of changing it out or adding a new piece.

    "No, I keep it in there," Aaron says. "It is lucky."

    Occasionally, Judge will switch it up if he's in a rut. He'll go with sunflower seeds, available next to the gum in the middle of the Bombers' dugout.

    Another superstition: Judge started the tasteless tradition in college and he doesn't plan on changing it. His outs do have a sweet ending, because if he makes one, he throws away the old gum and takes two fresh pieces.

    If he goes 3-for-3 and the game has a four-hour pace, Judge will just keep gnawing on the old gum, with no thought of changing it out or adding a new piece.

    "No, I keep it in there," Judge says. "It is lucky."

    Occasionally, Judge will switch it up if he's in a rut. He'll go with sunflower seeds, available next to the gum in the middle of the Bombers' dugout. (Andrew Marchand - ESPN.com - 10/08/2017)

  • Judge credits his parents, who adopted him as a baby, for giving him his first lessons on putting team above self. He says he's been blessed with coaches who have done the same. Judge is accommodating in talking to the media, but he almost blushes when speaking about himself. The top-step move could be seen as grandstanding, if Judge didn’t act the right way.

    "It’s genuine," third baseman Chase Headley says. "He is not doing it to have somebody write about it or see it."

  • Oct, 2017: Aaron Judge has the highest number in all of Major League Baseball, and this time we are talking about total sales of his No. 99 Yankees jersey. MLB and the MLB Players Association jointly announced the latest Most Popular Jerseys rankings, and the rookie slugger topped the list to add another distinction to an historic first full year. The list is based on sales of Majestic jerseys from MLBShop.com since Opening Day.

    It marks the first time an outfielder has taken the honor, and only the second time a rookie has finished an MLB season with the most popular jersey. Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, whose jersey is the second-most popular of 2017, also had the top-seller of '16 and '15 (his rookie campaign). MLB and the MLBPA have released these rankings since '10.

    Judge set the rookie home run record in 2017, won the T-Mobile Home Run Derby, led American League All-Star voting, earned his own robed fan section at Yankee Stadium, and pushed the Yankees into the postseason as a bona fide AL MVP Award candidate.  

    His "ALL RISE" nickname, which he wore on his back for the inaugural Players Weekend in August, resulted in a fair number of those jersey sales. Judge joins Derek Jeter (six times) and Mariano Rivera (once) as Yankees who have topped a Most Popular Jerseys ranking. (M Newman - MLB.com - Oct 3, 2017)

  • October 2017:  Judge won the Sporting News AL Rookie of the Year award.

    He was also named Baseball America 2017 Rookie of the Year.

  • Oct 24, 2017:  The season ended too abruptly for Aaron Judge to provide an honest assessment of his personal performance, but CC Sabathia spoke for many when he called it "the best rookie season I've ever seen."

    "I've never been around a group like this before," Judge said. "With the leadership we have in from veteran guys to the younger guys, it was fun coming to the ballpark every day. Whether we were down or up, we had fun every day." "We didn't win the World Series. You're not really satisfied," Judge said. "That's what you want. That's why you play and why you train in the offseason. It's all for the opportunity to win the World Series, and we came up short."

    Judge finished the season with a .284/.422/.627 split line, impressive numbers that had been dented by a six-week slump following his victorious performance at the T-Mobile Home Run Derby in July. Judge said that he was able to learn a lot by watching the Yankees' veteran players prepare, naming Brett Gardner, Chase Headley, Matt Holliday and Sabathia in particular.

    "Through injuries, ups and downs, this team always came to play every day," Judge said. "It's something that as a rookie seeing the veterans do that, I had a lot of fun playing with them. What a crew we had. We have a great team. We have a lot of guys coming back. We have a lot of guys in Minor Leagues waiting for their turn to come up here and do their thing. We're all excited for next year, 2018 and what it holds for us." (B Hoch - MLB.com - Oct 24, 2017)

  • Judge was on the cover athlete for "MLB The Show 18."  It is a popular Play Station game.

  • November 2017: Judge was named the 2017 winner of the American League's Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award. He was the runner up in the MVP award to Jose Altuve.
Batting
  • Judge peppers the right-center field gap, hammering anything on the outer half of the plate with authority. He has 80 power on the 20-80 scouting scale. And his hit tool is a 50.

    He makes baseballs fly far away when it hits the sweet spot. And he is a pure hitter, not just a slugger. He has a simple, flat stroke. And he endeavors to hit the ball gap-to-gap. He has a short stroke for somebody with his kind of power.

  • Aaron has that valuable power/speed combination. He has hit some massive home runs. But power is almost always the last thing to develop. If his 6-foot-7 frame didn’t give it away, Judge is a physical beast.

    "He's similar to Giancarlo Stanton,” one NL scouting director said in August 2012. “Big, tall, long limbs, long arms, big power. How much contact he’ll make and how much power he’ll get to is the question.

  • Judge gets his share of strikeouts -- I mean look at the size of his strike zone! But he also walks a lot.

    So, "Aaron is not someone who is hacking and swinging hard," one SAL manager said in 2014. "This guy is a hitter first. For a guy who should hit for power like he projects to, the fact he has the hit tool bodes well."

    And midway through the 2015 season, Trenton manager Al Pedrique said, "One thing that has impressed me is that with two strikes he doesn’t panic. He doesn’t change his approach, and he doesn’t chase a lot of pitches out of the strike zone. That’s the main reason he is doing well.’’

    The Yankees laud Judge for resisting selling out for power and becoming a one-dimensional hitter. He’s got more feel to hit than one would expect for a man his size.

  • Judge's righthanded swing isn’t short, but it’s not the long, loping version one would expect to see from someone his size. Instead, his stroke is more geared for line drives that sometimes leave the yard.

    Aaron towers over everyone on a baseball diamond. And, at 6-foot-7, he is trying to join a small group of extremely tall hitters. Since 2000, there have been six big league hitters who are 6-foot-7 or taller (Ryan Minor, Richie Sexson, Tony Clark, Joel Guzman, Nate Freiman and Damon Minor).

    Now, being 6-foot-7 is not a disqualifying trait in a hitter. Dunn, Giancarlo Stanton and Corey Hart are among the successful 6-foot-6 hitters in the big leagues this century, and it’s really hard to say that an additional inch makes all that much difference.

    But yes, there will always be some swing and miss with hitters this big. Scouts have long said that taller hitters are prone to striking out more because they have bigger strike zones and their long arms make it hard for their swings to be quick and direct to the ball. But in return, tall hitters can generate excellent leverage and often have excellent power.

    Judge still has a long ways to go to match a Dunn comp. Judge is 22. At that age, Dunn already had 45 big league home runs. But Judge does have an understanding of the strike zone, and his strikeout rate isn’t all that different than what Dunn did as a minor leaguer. And physically both are massive outfielders who, at least early in their career, have some athleticism. (J.J. Cooper - Baseball America - 9/12/2014)

  • Aaron's monster size (6-7, 270 pounds, or so) grabs the attention of scouts, managers and opposing players alike. He has prodigious tools to go with his jumbo frame, yet the separating factor in his success may be his short swing for a man his size.

    “He is fairly short to the ball for his size,” a pro scout with an NL club said.

    Despite his size, Judge works with a swing geared for the gaps, so he isn't swinging for power. He is just trying to drive the ball, stay gap to gap, but if you made a mistake and left it up at all, obviously just the size and bat speed he has, if he puts the barrel on it, it’s got a good chance of going out. (August, 2015)

  • Judge shows confidence in his ability to work deep counts, drawing his share of walks while also striking out a good bit. Of course, as with most any big-time prospect, Judge has a few warts. Some evaluators wonder if his power is a product solely of strength rather than a combination of strength and bat speed. Others noted problems swinging through sliders and curveballs, particularly early in the count. (August, 2015)

    The book on Aaron in 2015: work him hard inside before finishing him off with soft stuff away. His strikeout rate between Double-A and Triple-A bordered on 27 percent for the '15 season, which shows he has work to do before his game is major league ready.

    Advanced pitchers found holes in his swing with breaking and offspeed pitches. But he is able to make adjustments; and he punishes mistakes. Judge has good bat speed. He uses his strong arms and legs to get his entire body behind his swing. He likes to extend his arms and reach pitches on the outside of the plate.

    Even so, Judge’s power is undeniable, and he has the potential to make an impact in the near future. (Oct., 2015)

  • There are serious questions with Judge’s ability to make contact at the highest levels. He is 6-foot-7 with long arms, which leaves him vulnerable on the inner half.

    But during 2016 spring training, Judge made some adjustments to his swing and plate mechanics to better recognize pitches, mostly with a higher leg kick.

    "The main thing for me is giving myself an extra second to recognize the pitch and do some damage," Aaron said.

    Asked if he is tiring of all the comparisons to Giancarlo Stanton, Judge laughs and says, "Yeah, it's quite an honor. He's one of the premier hitters in the league, but I'm trying to go out there and be the best I can be. I'm not going to be a Giancarlo Stanton, I'm just focusing on what I can control and play the game the best way I can."

  • Late in the 2016 season, Aaron worked with minor league coordinator James Rowson, endeavoring to simplify Judges approach at the plate.

    “It’s not about making any major overhaul,’’ Rowson said of the first-round pick out of Fresno State in 2013. “He just needs to get back to doing what got him here, and the important thing is not to panic. We know that’s not going to happen because he’s been through this before.”

    In 2016, Judge remade his swing after striking out 42 times in 84 at-bats in his big league debut.

    “My bat is kind of working, how I see it, like a Ferris wheel instead of like a merry-go round,” Judge said in May, 2017. “The past couple years when I started getting bad, I would start rolling over a lot of balls because my bat was like a merry-go-round, it was not staying through the zone. Controlling that (back) hip allows the bat to get through the zone like a Ferris wheel. So my contact point now, if I’m expecting 95 (mph) and a guy throws 98 or 99, my bat is still in the zone and I can drive it to right-center field. Or if I’m expecting a fastball and the guy throws something off-speed, my bat is still in the zone; I can hit something to left field.

  • Judge uses a 35-inch, 33-ounce maple bat.

  • Before Aaron's great 2017, he had to come to the humbling realization that his swing had to change.

    “The biggest thing, the way I can explain it, was controlling my back hip,” Judge said in May. “I watched the great hitters. They’re into their back hip, and that’s where the swing starts. They’re in their legs. They’re in that hip. For me it allows me to stay in and through the zone longer. I don’t come around the zone.

    “He’s always been powerful, but I think he’s learning to use his body more efficiently,” said Yankees first baseman Greg Bird, a teammate of Judge’s at every level from high Class A to the majors. “And then you’re seeing him reap the rewards more than ever.

    “My bat is kind of working, how I see it, like a Ferris wheel instead of like a merry-go round,” Judge said. “The past couple years when I started getting bad I would start rolling over a lot of balls because my bat was like a merry-go-round—it was not staying through the zone. Controlling that (back) hip allows the bat to get through the zone like a Ferris wheel.

    “So my contact point now, if I’m expecting 95 (mph) and a guy throws 98 or 99, my bat is still in the zone and I can drive it into right-center field. Or if I’m expecting a fastball and the guy throws something offspeed, my bat is still in the zone I can hit something to left field.

    The results of Judge’s adjustment were indisputable. Instead of just raw power, he produced game power like never before. “Of course, his power has always been there. He’s the biggest, strongest guy in baseball,” outfielder Brett Gardner said. I think that everybody knows what he’s capable of doing and how far he is capable of hitting a baseball. It’s just all about becoming a better hitter.” (Kyle Glaser - Baseball America - 11/03/2017)

  • April 2017: Judge enjoyed a month to remember, tying a Major League record for the most April home runs hit by a rookie, with 10.

  • May 3, 2017:  The record books are not safe from Aaron's power. Judge hit his Major League-leading 13th home run in a 8-6 win at Yankee Stadium, becoming the youngest player in history to reach that total in his team's first 26 games of a season.

    "I honestly take it one day at a time," said Judge, who added a pair of singles for his first career three-hit game. "I kind of forget what I did the day before. I'm just going in there like it's Opening Day for me. Go out there, just have some quality at-bats, get up five times. Keep having quality at-bats and good things will happen.

    The only other right-handed-hitting outfielder to slug 13 homers in his team's first 26 games was Hall of Famer Willie Mays, who did it for the Giants in 1964.  (Hoch - mlb.com)

  • May 31, 2017: Judge joined Mark McGwire as the only rookies in MLB history to hit 17 HR's before the start of June.

  • June 12, 2017:  Judge has already hit a Major League-best 22 home runs in the Yankees' first 61 games -- joining Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio as the only Yankees age-25 or younger to hit at least 20 four-baggers before the All-Star break.  (Kelly - mlb.com)

  • July 4, 2017: Aaron Judge is so strong that he managed to put a dent in Yankee Stadium with a home run.

    By now, you're probably aware that Aaron Judge hits a whole lot of homers -- he entered play on the Fourth of July with 27, to be precise, the most in the Major Leagues. He hits them onto hotels and concourses, at home and on the road. Dingers are, put simply, kind of his thing.

    The home run Judge hit against the Blue Jays, however, was no ordinary homer. Not only did it leave the bat at 118.4 mph -- the fourth-hardest homer of the season, according to Statcast, trailing ... three more Judge homers. But it traveled 456 feet while not getting higher than 59 feet off the ground:

    Yes, even Judge's line drives carry 456 feet. Oh, and the ball was hit so hard that it managed to dent the metal above the gate beyond the fence in left-center field. (Chris Landers and Matthew Martell-MLB.com)

  • With Judge finishing up a jaw-dropping first half, now seems like a good time to compare him to a few of the greatest rookie hitters in baseball history.  

    There's the Yankee Clipper himself, an All-Star in 1936. There's Fred Lynn, who with the 1975 Red Sox became the first player to win Rookie of the Year and MVP honors in the same year (a feat matched in 2001 by Ichiro Suzuki, a different type of rookie due to his extensive professional experience in Japan). And then there's another Rookie of the Year winner, Mark McGwire, who 11 years before he broke Roger Maris' single-season home run record in 1998 set rookie marks for homers in a season and before the All-Star break.  

    Each of these four has roots in California. DiMaggio was born there, grew up there, and first signed with the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League, who in November 1934 sold him to the Yankees. McGwire, Lynn and Judge all went to high school and college in the state, with the first two playing at USC and the latter at Fresno State. Judge grew up in Linden, Calif., a little more than an hour's drive east of DiMaggio's birthplace in Martinez.

    While the draft didn't exist back in DiMaggio's day, each of the other three were high picks. The Red Sox took Lynn 41st overall in 1973, the A's plucked McGwire 10th in '84, and the Yankees nabbed Judge 32nd in 2013.  (Simon - mlb.com - 7/5/17)

  • July 7, 2017:  Judge eclipsed DiMaggio's franchise record for home runs hit by a rookie with his Major League-leading 30th home run in a 9-4 loss at Yankee Stadium, a solo blast in the fifth inning off the Brewers' Josh Hader that landed on the netting covering Monument Park. 

    "It's pretty special. It's a pretty special name he passed," manager Joe Girardi said. "It's very incredible what he's done in the first half of the season. You talk about the home runs, the walks, the average he's hit for, the defense he's played. It's a pretty special first half." (Hoch - mlb.com - 7/07/17)

  • "All rise." Again, again and again. Aaron Judge lived up to the hype of his remarkable rookie campaign by slamming nearly four miles of home runs at Marlins Park, including four drives of more than 500 feet, crowning the Yankees' slugger as the newest champion of the 2017 T-Mobile Home Run Derby.

    Judge overcame 22 first-round blasts from Justin Bour of the Marlins and a dozen long balls from the Dodgers' Cody Bellinger in the second. Judge slammed 11 homers in the finals to defeat Miguel Sano of the Twins, finishing with 1:53 still on the clock.

    "I had no pressure going into it. I'm a rookie," Judge said. "This is my first time doing it. For me, I've got no expectations. I'm just going to go in there and have some fun and see what we can do tonight. It was a blast. I enjoyed every minute of it -- watching the other guys swing, coming here early and talking to the media. Everything about today was fantastic."  (Hoch - mlb.com - 7/10/17)

  • August 23, 2017:  After setting the wrong kind of history, Aaron Judge made it through the Yankees' 13-4 win without striking out. That ended a streak of 37 consecutive games with a strikeout for the rookie slugger, a Major League record.  

    Before Jacoby Ellsbury pinch-hit for Judge in the seventh inning, Judge racked up three walks and an RBI single. Manager Joe Girardi said despite the optics of the move to pull Judge from the game, thus breaking the strikeout streak, he simply made the move to get the slugger off his feet with an 11-1 lead at the time.

    Though the streak garnered much attention in the media, Judge insisted all along that it didn't bother him.

    "Like I said, I don't think about it," Judge said. "I only think about it when you guys ask me about it."  (Beery - mlb.com - 8/23/17)

  • September 10, 2017:  Judge launched two towering homers in Yankees 16-7 win over the Texas Rangers, joining Mark McGwire as only the 2nd rookie in MLB history to ever hit 40 home runs in a season.

  • September 20, 2017:  Aaron's two-run home run hooked inside the right-field foul pole and made him just the eighth player in Yankees history to reach 100 runs, 100 RBI, and 100 walks in the same season. It was Judge's first career home run on an 0-2 count; he has now homered on every possible count but 3-0. 

  • September 25, 2017: Never in baseball history has a first-year player hit more home runs than Aaron Judge, who now stands alone among the best rookie home run hitters of all time after New York's 11-3 win over the Royals at Yankee Stadium.

    Judge hit two home runs to set the new single-season rookie record of 50, breaking the previous mark set by Mark McGwire in 1987.

  • September 30, 2017: Judge made history against the Toronto Blue Jays when he hit his 52nd home run of the season and 33rd at Yankee Stadium.

    According to Newsday's Laura Albanese, Judge passed Babe Ruth to set the single-season franchise home record. ESPN Stats & Info noted Ruth's mark was established in 1921, when the Yankees played at the Polo Grounds.

  • November 9, 2017: Judge was named the 2017 AL Silver Slugger Award winner in the outfield for the first time in his career.

  • As of the start of the 2018 season, Aaron's career Major League stats were: .270 batting average, 56 home runs and 169 hits with 124 RBI in 626 at-bats.
Fielding
  • Aaron's above-average speed plays well in the outfield, where he grades as a plus defender with intriguing arm strength and carry. He can play center, but he fits even better in right field with a strong arm. He has a 50 grade for his big-league average defense.

  • Judge has a 60 arm. His throws are accurate. But he did need refinement to his throwing technique and footwork.
  • He is working on charging balls on the ground, being more aggressive and using better routes and jumps to the ball.

    Aaron is more athletic than you would predict if you were just looking at his massiveness. He has improved his footwork, and is in the process of refining his mechanics, so his throws are more accurate. (Spring, 2016)

  • "He has such grace for such a big man," said Yankees bench coach Rob Thomson, who works with the Yankees' outfielders. "He covers a lot of space, has a lot of wing span, attacks groundballs well, is an accurate thrower with a plus arm. But the biggest thing about Aaron is he works at it. Works at it in batting practice, reading balls off the bat. I tell our outfielders that is the best drill you can do, and he does it religiously."

    "The pitcher is working his butt off and trying to make pitches to get guys out," Judge said. "The least I can do is give 110 percent trying to make an extra play for him."  (Castrovince - mlb.com - 5/10/17)

Running
  • Aaron has surprising speed. His exceptionally long strides turn singles into doubles. His speed grades at 50 on the 20-80 scale.
  • Judge routinely turns in home-to-first times of 4.2 - 4.3 seconds from home-to-first from the right side of the plate.

  • Spring 2014: Judge is a physical freak. He is just not big, he is actually quite quick and athletic too. He shows an impressive first burst jump for a slugger and he had an 88% success rate stealing bases in college. He has the wheels to be a double-digit stolen base guy each year, one who could approach 20 stolen bases.

  • Aaron runs real fast once under way.
Career Injury Report
  • June, 2013: Judge injured his quad before he could appear in a game, missing the season.

  • July 8-August 2, 2016: Judge was placed on the Minor League disabled list due to a mild PCL sprain and a bone bruise on his left knee.

    Judge exited a game with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the sixth inning after he dove for a ball in the outfield and later ran to first base on a groundout. The outfielder reported feeling a pop in his knee before exiting. Judge immediately saw a team doctor, and was re-evaluated, when an MRI revealed the injury to his left knee.

  • September 14-Oct 3, 2016:  Aaron was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a Grade 2 right oblique strain.

  • Nov. 20, 2017: Judge underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder. He is expected to complete his recovery before the start of Spring Training. The procedure involved a loose-body removal and cartilage cleanup