Yankees’ Aaron Judge Making Strong Case for A.L. MVP Award
We’ve talked in great detail this year on the positive impact Aaron Judge has brought to the New York Yankees.
He’s in line to be the 2017 American League Rookie of the Year. With a .332 average, 19 home runs and 44 RBI, he’s in line for the Triple Crown. And with the way he’s helping, Judge could get a chance to play postseason baseball. The Yankees are in first place in the American League East by several games. They also have the second-best record in the A.L. as well, something Judge has had a big part in.
Aaron Judge is also making a strong enough case for the 2017 American League MVP Award as well.
Before he got hurt, Judge was neck and neck with Mike Trout, who is the defending MVP winner from last season. Trout was hitting .337 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI and had 10 steals, which were MVP type numbers. But then a thumb injury shelved Trout for the next two months and put a serious damper on his chances.
With Trout on the shelf, it put Aaron Judge as the front-runner for the award right now. There are other players in the league who are in the race. Miguel Sano of the Minnesota Twins is one. Nelson Cruz of the Seattle Mariners is another. Jose Altuve is also in the mix. But none are having the kind of season that Judge is having with the Yankees.
Heading into 2017, most eyes were on Gary Sanchez because of the way his final two months went in 2016. In 53 games, Sanchez hit .299 with 20 home runs and 42 RBI. Many were expecting him to have that kind of production again, but he landed on the disabled list in early April.
With Sanchez, along with Greg Bird out, Aaron Judge picked up the slack in the offensive production. He’s gotten help from Matt Holliday, Starlin Castro and Brett Gardner. But Judge has been the guy that has made this Yankees team go. Fans are coming to the ballpark to see Judge smack the ball over the fence.
Fans are buying tickets in the right field section now known as “The Judge’s Chambers,” and wearing a judge’s robe with his name and number on it. With older stars like Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez retiring and moving on, the Yankees needed a star to bring the fans in. At first, many thought it might be Sanchez with the way last year went.
But it’s Judge. He’s the guy that fans want to see. He’s the can’t miss player. And right now, he’s the front-runner for the American League MVP Award. Sure, guys don’t win it in mid-June. But given the way he’s been playing, he’s got the criteria for it.
In the next month, he’s likely going to be starting in the 2017 MLB All-Star Game, as Judge is the leading vote recipient. Aaron Judge also may be asked to participate in the 2017 MLB Home Run Derby too. His 19 home runs currently lead the league and all of baseball, so his participation would make sense.
Given his rate of production, a season of 35-40 home runs with 100-120 RBI and a .300-plus average seems likely. His on-base percentage is even more incredible at .439. Part of that is his ability to see the baseball. He’s no longer chasing bad pitches and he’s walking more; he leads the American League in walks with 37.
Whether he wins the Triple Crown after the 2017 season remains to be seen; he’s in the top five for each category. But his numbers and his production have given him a strong case for the American League MVP Award.
If the season were to end today, he’s the runaway favorite. If Aaron Judge continues this pace, he is the likely favorite to win the MVP Award.