The Runner Sports

Aaron Judge Is Leading An Unexpected Murderers’ Row For Yankees

On paper, it is hard to imagine that an offense that loses Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Brian McCann, and Carlos Beltran would improve. For that offense to become the best powerhouse in the MLB, it is almost stuff of fantasy. However, the New York Yankees can make the argument that they are the best offensive team in baseball. Second in team batting average and leading the MLB in home runs, the Yankees have been an offensive juggernaut. This past week was a demonstration of how potent this offense can be. Not only was there an explosion of 59 runs, but it came against two contenders in the AL East; both the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles are going to be competition for the Yankees in the AL East. All of this offensive firepower is being led by AL Triple Crown leader Aaron Judge.

Aaron Judge for AL MVP?

Depending on how long Mike Trout remains on the DL, Aaron Judge could become the first rookie to win the AL MVP since Ichiro did it in 2001. Currently, he is leading the AL in batting average, home runs, and RBIs, which is the Triple Crown for baseball. While I do not expect him to finish the season with the Triple Crown, it is impressive that he holds those distinctions 60 games into the season. Impressive is a word that is synonymous with Judge. After belting a home run clocked at 121 mph on Saturday, he followed that up on Sunday by crushing a ball 495 feet.

Eventually this season, Judge will face a rough stretch at the plate. How he rebounds during that stretch will determine whether he can finish the season as the AL MVP favorite. The main factor that will boost him over other candidates will be his impact on the Yankees. His statistical success has obviously helped the team rack up victories. However, his presence gives teammates more RBI opportunities, better pitches during at-bats, and less pressure to perform.

Career Power Numbers Coming

The New York Yankees lead the MLB in home runs with 102. Leading the Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Rays by three, this power surge is coming from the obvious and not-so-obvious players. Again leading the MLB, the Yankees have six players who are in the double digits for home runs. Judge leads the way with a league leading 21. Along with Judge, Matt Holliday (13) and Gary Sanchez (10) are two of the six in double digits. None of these three players are surprises in the home run totals.

However, Aaron Hicks, Starlin Castro, and Brett Gardner have been demonstrating power in the first 60 games. All three of these players are on pace to set new career highs in home runs this year. Gardner has 13 home runs with his career high being 17 from 2014. What makes Gardner most surprising is that all of his home runs have been hit since April 28. Meanwhile, Castro set his career high last season with 21. He is more than halfway there currently with his 12 this season.  Hicks (who has 10) is only one away from tying his career high.

The Bald Brothers’ Bet

For those unaware, the combination of Matt Holliday and Brett Gardner have been coined the “Bald Brothers.” At the tail end of May, Gardner had an idea for a bet to make with Holliday over home runs. Since Gardner was tied with Holliday, he offered an idea for an interesting bet between the two. Whoever ended up with the fewer home runs between the two, “the loser should have to grow his hair out for a month.”

Despite this brilliant idea, Gardner was only joking about the ramifications of the bet. However, there is a friendly competition between the two bald teammates. Anytime Gardner or Holliday hit a home run, the other is following them up with one of their own during the same game or the next one. Both of them are tied with 13 home runs. Holliday is not limiting himself to only competing with Gardner though. He has a competition with Aaron Judge, but Judge has pulled away in the past week.

Driving in Runs

As mentioned above, Aaron Judge is leading the AL with RBIs. However, he is not alone at the top of the AL in that department. Matt Holliday and Starlin Castro are within in the top 10 of RBIs in the AL. Holliday (44) is ranked fifth in the AL while Castro (41) is tied for eighth. No other AL team has three players with at least 40 RBIs on their team. In the NL, there are three teams who have three players above 40 RBIs (Washington Nationals, Colorado Rockies, and Miami Marlins).

In the next week or so, the Yankees could add their fourth player to go above the 40 mark. Hicks is sitting at 36 RBIs. He is the only other Yankee to have more than 30. With Jacoby Ellsbury still on the DL, Hicks has been thriving in the starting role. Hicks is having his best season in his young career. When Ellsbury returns to the lineup, it is going to be hard to let Hicks go back to the bench.

Will the Offensive Onslaught Continue?

Will the Yankees continue to score 59 runs in one week? No, definitely not. Will this offense continue to be one of the best in baseball? I believe so. It is more than simply one or two players racking up all of the statistics. The Yankees are getting solid contributions from almost all positions. Sanchez is starting to hit his stride batting out of the sixth spot. Didi Gregorius has looked great since he has returned from the DL. The only spots where the Yankees are struggling is at the corners.

Since June began, Chase Headley is batting .226 with only one extra-base hit. At the trade deadline, third base will most likely be the position that is addressed. It could be addressed over starting pitching. Meanwhile, Chris Carter has enjoyed the beginning of June. He is batting .310 with two home runs. He could have had three, but Mookie Betts robbed him with an assist from a fan. Carter needs to continue this in order to have any hope of remaining in the lineup with Tyler Austin and Greg Bird coming off the DL.

Griffin Fuller
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Griffin Fuller

Former Division 1 pitcher at Stetson University with an immense passion for the game of baseball. Grew up playing baseball from the age of 3. Student of the game of baseball in every aspect.Located out of Debary, Florida.
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Griffin Fuller
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