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Thursday, July 7, 2022

Yankees Super Slugger Aaron Judge Adds Lead-Off Hitter To His Impressive Resume

Aaron Judge wanted to apologize after that game. He’s not your traditional lead-off hitter, so when Tigers starter Beau Briske threw him a fastball to start last week’s game, the slugger simply hammered him to drive him home.

“Just saw what I liked. I wasn’t really swinging, but then I liked something,” Judge said of ditching the fastball. “I felt bad [Josh Donaldson] behind me. …usually when the DJ [LeMahieu] Moving forward he pitches me about seven or eight which warms me up and lets me see the pitcher, but I’ve only given a pitch to the JD to see what he’s got.

“Luckily I was able to score a run.”

Judge made six game starts in his career and included five on Saturdays and Sundays this season. While he apologized for not being a traditional lead-off hitter who works on a lot of pitches and gets to base, Judge fits the mold for the way the spot is being used more and more. .

An MLB opponent, “Working on the count based on how well the pitcher’s item is received is not as important … the coach said.” The first pitch of the game is probably the only time a fastball primary pitch is thrown. “

That and the fact that there is so much video on pitchers that hitters can study before a game leaves one wondering who is leading. Yankees manager Aaron Boone cited the Dodgers using Mookie Bates and the Blue Jays using George Springer in that role.

“I mean, I like him wherever he’s going to hit,” Boone said of the judge. “We’ve only done it a few times, haven’t we? [Sunday]’I didn’t originally push him, but once we’ve had to move the lineup around a bit, for me I like to balance as much as I can. But, of course, he likes to get up there as often as possible. ,

What not to like? Judge, who is a pending free agent at the end of this season, is not only on pace for a career year, he is on a historic pace. With 24 home runs, he leads the majors. He’s reducing .318/.391/.686 with 1.077 OPS in 58 games this season.

Judge now has three career leadoff home runs this entire season. In his five starts above the lineup, Judge is hitting .368/.391/.842 with 1.233 OPS.

But with all that power, it’s hard for Boone to ignore hundreds of years of baseball and try not to put anyone on base ahead of the judge so he can help drive in more runs. Of his major league-leading 24 home runs this season, Judge has 18 single shots and the Yankees have just 33 off their homers.

So, Boone has used six different lead-off hitters this season. LeMahieu is their most consistent lead-off hitter, hitting the top of the lineup 24 times.

“I don’t mind going ahead,” the judge said. “It doesn’t really matter whether I’m leading or hitting second. You have to keep your approach the same.”

The first 60 games of this season have been something of a bummer for the judge, breaking down some of the roles he’s played over the years. On Sunday, Judge made his 25th start at center field, starting 35 in right field, where he spent most of his career.

The judge plays the centerpiece as an amateur and prefers to be at the center of the defence.

“I can swing people around a little bit more because I’m right there in the middle so I can see different things. What people swing, where the pitches are, because in the right and left, you’re just reacting. You really I can’t watch it. …. I just enjoy it,” the judge said earlier this month.

Versatility on the field and in the batting order is something the Yankees are embracing more and more. It’s also going to be another thing that Judge can sell on the free agent market this winter — if the Yankees let him go there.

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World Nation News Desk
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