Aaron Judge Tracker: Yankees star on pace for 66 homers after tying Babe Ruth with 60th blast

Aaron Judge has joined MLB home run royalty. The Yankees star hit his 60th home run of the season on Tuesday night, joining an exclusive roster of hitters and taking him one homer away from tying Roger Maris for the American League single-season record. Judge’s 60th home run tied him with Babe Ruth for the eighth in a single season in MLB history.

Back in spring practice, New York Yankees hitter Aaron Judge turned down a very reasonable one seven-year contract extension valued at $213.5 million. It was undoubtedly a bold decision, and Judge has responded this season by doing the seemingly impossible: He made more money. Some players would collapse under that pressure. judge not. He blossomed.

In addition to home runs, he also leads the league in walks, runs scored, RBI, total bases, 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 20:

  1. Aaron Richter, Yankees: 60
  2. Kyle Schwarber, Phillies: 40
  3. Jordan Alvarez, Astros: 37
  4. Austin Riley, Braves: 37
  5. Mike Trout, Angels: 36

With 60 home runs in 147 team games, Judge is capable of hitting 66 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) would be happy if (judge if) he is capable of (the) monumental task. It’s something that is a unique record, one of the best in the sport. One Batting baseball isn’t easy. To achieve that, you’ve 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 mention that only eight times in MLB history has a player hit 60 homers in a season, and 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 eight 60-homer seasons in history:

  1. Barry Bonds, 2001 Giants: 73
  2. Mark McGwire, 1998 Cardinals: 70
  3. Sammy Sosa, 1998 cubs: 66
  4. Mark McGwire, 1999 Cardinals: 65
  5. Sammy Sosa, 2001 cubs: 64
  6. Sammy Sosa, 1999 cubs: 63
  7. Roger Maris, 1961 Yankees: 61
  8. Babe Ruth, 1927 Yankees: 60
  9. Aaron Judge, 2022 Yankees: 60 (and counting)

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.

What Judge has to do for the rest of the season

Judge needs to hit a home run in New York’s last 15 games to match Maris’ AL record, meaning he needs two home runs to break the record.

Here are the steps the judge must maintain to reach those milestone totals:

62 Homer (new AL single season record)

2

7.50

61 Homer (ties Maris’ AL record)

1

15.00

Judge’s current pace

2.45

The Yankee Stadium factor

Judge is certainly playing in the right home ballpark to hit a run at 60 homers. Yankee Stadium is one of the home game stadiums in the major leagues, although Judge doesn’t exactly pad his total with short right porch cheaps. 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 homers in just 671 games second little ever behind Ryan Howard (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.

What about his workload?

This is important. The Yankees have 15 games left, but Judge may not play all of them. The Yankees have used load management for years and rarely deviate from their rest schedule.

Judge has been perfectly healthy this season, not even a single commonplace injury situation, and he’s started 140 of his team’s 147 games (he’s been hit by a pinch four times). A similar pace would see Judge start in 14 of New York’s last 15 games. Even one short start will diminish his chances of equaling or beating Maris’ AL record.

Despite a bad streak, the Yankees are a postseason suspension and the ultimate goal is winning the World Series (the judge himself would tell you that), so they’ll do what they think is best to ensure the team is in the best Location is October. That means they’re unaware of the home run chase and potential history, especially since it’s going to get a lot of ass in the seats. How could the Yankees sit at home judges in September?

My guess — and I stress this is just a guess — is that the Yankees will revise their rest schedule a bit, and instead of giving Judge whole days off, they’re giving him more (possibly a lot more) time DH. The judge’s rest schedule is definitely a thing to monitor.

https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/aaron-judge-tracker-yankees-star-on-pace-for-66-homers-after-tying-babe-ruth-with-60th-blast/ Aaron Judge Tracker: Yankees star on pace for 66 homers after tying Babe Ruth with 60th blast

Ari Notis

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