Aaron Judge is Having A Season for the Ages


Aaron Judge could walk away with the American League MVP. (Courtesy of Twitter)

The Babe, Big Mac, Slammin Sammy, Bonds and, of course, Maris. Until Tuesday night, those five were the only men that could say they have hit 60 or more home runs in a Major League Baseball (MLB) season. After an incredible season, Aaron Judge can add his name to that prestigious list.

For Judge, 2022 started just like it did for many other baseball players: at home, wondering if there would be a season at all. The ninth work stoppage in MLB history, and first since the 1994-95 strike, started in December 2021 when the 30 owners voted unanimously to lockout the players. January turned to February and February to March with still no deal in place and the first two weeks of the regular season getting canceled. However, on March 10, the two sides miraculously came to an agreement salvaging the season and thus giving way to history.

Not only did Judge’s season almost not happen, but it also started with his agency and the Yankees’ front office unable to come to terms with an extension, leaving his future after this year up in the air. The 2021-22 offseason was the final offseason that Judge was in arbitration with the team, and therefore under his last year of complete team control. Judge and his camp made it very clear that if a long-term deal was not offered before Opening Day, then they would wait until after the season to discuss his future rather than make it a distraction during the campaign. The two sides were separated by four million dollars, with Judge filing at $21 million and the Yankees at $17 million, citing injury concerns. In June, they were able to settle at $19 million with $500,000 in award incentives, including $250,000 for MVP and another $250,000 for World Series MVP.

Through the first 92 games of the year before the All-Star Break, it seemed like Judge would be in serious contention for both of those bonuses. The Yankees were looking like one of the best teams ever, starting 64-28 with as much as a 15 game lead in the division. He was slashing .284/.364/.618/.983 with 33 home runs and 70 runs batted in, leading the American League (AL) in voting to put him as a starter in the All-Star Game. However, it would be after the All-Star Game when Judge would kick into another gear and turn his great season into an unforgettable one.

Since July 21st, he has produced an incredible .363/.500/.813/1.313 slashline, hitting another 27 home runs (60 on the year) and driving in 58 more with 15 games still to go. He was a work stoppage away from not having a season at all, and now he is having arguably two great seasons broken down into a mind boggling one. During this time, the Yankees went an abysmal 24-30, managing to win only on the back of Judge. Without Judge’s incredible play, the Yankees would not be in the position they are in now.

With 15 games left to go, every Judge at bat is now a must watch for not only Yankees fans but baseball fans all over. He’s hit 60 homers, one away from the AL record and an unlikely but not impossible 13 away from tying Barry Bonds 73. While this feat seems improbable, he has tied a record of 11 multi home run games in a season this year, making it not completely out of the realm of possibility.

If his season couldn’t get anymore impressive, Judge is also in contention for the AL triple crown. He leads the league in home runs, has a sizable lead in runs batted in, and as of Sept. 18 is batting .316, .001 shy of the lead in Luis Arraez. Winning the triple crown would be the cherry on top to a season for the ages, cementing himself in the history books and memories of baseball fans everywhere.
Yankees fans can only hope that it will all end with champagne and another championship in October, as well as a deserved substantial paycheck for Judge.