There’s been a lot of talk on how Aaron Judge has been a shot in the arm for the New York Yankees. Rookie of the Year. American League MVP.
With the way he’s been playing, Judge could be in line for the American League Triple Crown as well.
In the American League, only nine other players have won the award. The last one to do so; Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers in 2012. Before him, it was Carl Yastrzemski back in 1967. Winning the Triple Crown is not easy to do given the rarity of the accomplishment.
In order to win, you have to lead the league in batting average, home runs, and RBI. Generally, the players with higher averages aren’t big home run hitters. On the other side, the home run hitters don’t always have the highest averages. Most power hitters tend to strike out a lot and don’t always hit over .300.
In Aaron Judge’s case, he’s near the top of the league in each category. His .326 average is sixth best. His 41 RBI is third best. His 18 home runs lead the American League. All of these numbers have Judge as a serious contender to win the award if he keeps up the pace.
While some think he could easily win the home run and RBI sections of it, other question the batting average part of it. But this year, Aaron Judge has drastically cut down on his strikeouts that plagued him. Last year, Judge hit just .179 and had 42 strikeouts with 15 hits in 84 plate appearances.
In 2017, Judge has 63 strikeouts in 181 plate appearances and has a .433 on-base percentage. What does that mean for Judge? He’s becoming an even more dangerous hitter that isn’t chasing wildly like he used to in the past. And because of it, pitchers are forced to give Judge better pitches to hit and he’s sending them to far away distances.
As of right now, the only other player who could compete for the Triple Crown as well is Mike Trout. However, Trout landed on the disabled list with a thumb injury and is expected to miss up to two months. So his chances of winning the award at the end of the season have taken a blow.
But with Aaron Judge continuing to surge for the Yankees and playing as well as he has, he’s got a legitimate shot. When push comes to shove, the Yankees would prefer success in the postseason over personal accomplishments.
But with the way 2017 has played out, Aaron Judge has a legitimate chance to win the Triple Crown. And for the Yankees sake, that’s a really good thing going forward.