Aaron Judge has joined MLB home run royalty. The Yankees star wrecked his 61st home run of the season on Wednesday, joining an exclusive roster of hitters and tying Roger Maris for the American League’s single-season record.
Back in spring training, Richter turned down a very reasonable one. It was undoubtedly a bold decision, and Judge has responded this season by doing the seemingly impossible: He made himself more Money. Some players would collapse under that pressure. judge not. He blossomed.
In addition to home runs, Judge also leads the league in Walks, Runs Scored, RBI, Total Bases, Batting Average, On-Base Percentage, Slugging Percentage, OPS, OPS+, and both the FanGraphs and Baseball Reference versions of WAR. The race for the home run title is not a race at all.
Here is the MLB home run rankings as of September 28:
- Aaron Richter, Yankees: 61
- Kyle Schwarber, Phillies: 42
- Pete Alonso, Mets: 40
- Jordan Alvarez, Astros: 37
- Austin Riley, Braves: 37
- Mike Trout, Angels: 37
With 61 home runs in 155 team games, Judge is capable of hitting 64 home runs this season.
There’s a wonderful symmetry in Judge’s pursuit of Maris’ AL home run record. Maris, who passed away in 1985, hit 61 home runs 61 years ago in 1961. He also wore the No. 9. Judge wears the No. 99. Also, on August 10, Judge hit his 203rd career home run, the same number of home runs Mari’s hit with the Yankees.
“It’s always nice to see dad being brought back into the public eye a little bit for his awards in baseball. He achieved a lot in the game. We couldn’t be prouder of what he has achieved. Sixty-one is a unique number, “Kevin Maris, one of Roger’s sons, told MLB.com in August. “… But [we] I would be glad [Judge if] he is able to reach [the] monumental task. This is a unique record, one of the best in the sport. Batting a baseball is not easy. To do that, you made it through a season, not just one game or one at-bat.”
Home run leaderboard for a season
Before we go any further, I should note that only nine times in MLB history has a player hit 60 homers in a season, and six — the first six — of the eight came during the so-called steroid era. What we’re talking about Judge possibly doing doesn’t happen often. Here are the nine 60-homer seasons in history:
- Barry Bonds, 2001 Giants: 73
- Mark McGwire, 1998 Cardinals: 70
- Sammy Sosa, 1998 cubs: 66
- Mark McGwire, 1999 Cardinals: 65
- Sammy Sosa, 2001 cubs: 64
- Sammy Sosa, 1999 cubs: 63
- Aaron Judge, 2022 Yankees: 61 (and counting)
- Roger Maris, 1961 Yankees: 61
- Babe Ruth, 1927 Yankees: 60
Giancarlo Stanton hit MLB’s last run with 60 home runs and hit 59 deeps in his 2017 NL MVP season. That includes a truly mind-blowing stretch where Stanton hit 30 homers in 48 games. Ryan Howard hit 58 homers in his 2006 NL MVP season. Even in this Homer-lucky era, it’s not often that a player hits a real run with 60 things.
The Yankee Stadium factor
Judge is certainly playing in the right home ballpark to hit a 61+ homer run. Yankee Stadium is one of the best home run stadiums in the major leagues, although Judge hasn’t topped his total with short right-field porch cheapies. According to Statcast, Judge has hit just two home runs this season that would have been home runs at Yankee Stadium and only Yankee Stadium: a 364-foot play against Shane McClanahan on June 15 and another 364-foot play against Jonathan Heasley on the 30th of July.
That home run against Heasley was Judge’s 200th career home run. He hit 200 career home runs in just 671 games(658).
It’s no surprise that Judge’s career home run rate at home (one every 13.2 plate appearances) is higher than his home run rate on the road (one every 16.1 plate appearances). The judge can hit the ball from any part of a park. The Yankees only have three home games left this season: September 30 through October 2 against the Orioles.
What about his workload?
This is important. The Yankees have seven games left and have already won the AL East title and a Wild Card Series Bye. These seven games are meaningless. Manager Aaron Boone has indicated he will eventually give Judge a day off to rest before the postseason. That could happen soon, although it seems unlikely that it would happen at the upcoming homestand. Yankees fans could burn down Yankee Stadium if 50,000 people show up and Judge isn’t on the lineup.
“I hope (we can give him a day off sometime). That means we’re in a good position. It’s been a while now.” Boone said that recently New York Post. “…The few days off he got during the year have served him well.”
The ultimate goal is winning the World Series (the judge himself would tell you that), so the Yankees will do what they think is best to ensure the team is in the best position come October.
https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/aaron-judge-home-runs-tracker-yankees-star-ties-roger-maris-61-on-pace-for-64/ Aaron Judge home runs tracker: Yankees star ties Roger Maris ’61, on pace for 64