Aaron Judge is the most recognizable Yankee since Derek Jeter. We all know that big guy standing in the outfield with number 99 on his back. There has been debates circling around Aaron Judge since his 2017 season. Judge came into the league and took the league by storm, having an outstanding rookie year. Most notable, he was the leader of the Yankees in his rookie season and blasted the rookie home run record. Aaron Judge (52) passed Mark McGwire (49) on the rookie home run list. Ever since Aaron Judge came into the league, he has been the face of the franchise and ,arguably, the face of baseball. So, the question that keeps popping into Yankee fans heads, is Aaron Judge the next captain of the New York Yankees?
2017 Rookie Season
2017 was Aaron Judge’s best year since he’s been in the league. His work at the plate earned him a .284 BA, 128 R, 154 H, 52 HR, .627 SLG, and a 1.049 OPS in 155 G. While winning the ROY award, one of the most controversial topics is that Judge should have been the AL MVP as well. The winner of that award was Houston Astros 2B, Jose Altuve. The topic arises 4 years later due to Altuve and his Astros were caught cheating in 2017. While comparing their stats to one another, you can’t help but think if Judge was robbed from the award. After all, Judge wasn’t cheating.
Altuve’s 2017 stats- 590 AB, 162 R, 204 H, 24 HR, 81 RBI, .346 BA, .547 SLG, .957 OPS
Judge’s 2017 stats- 542 AB, 128 R, 154 H, 52 HR, 114 RBI, .284 BA, .627 SLG, 1.049 OPS
While comparing the two, Altuve and Judge both lead in their respective categories. However, who knows what kind of numbers Judge could have put up if he knew the types of pitches coming his way in 48 more AB. Aaron Judge’s Yankees met Jose Altuve’s Astros in the 2017 ALCS, ending with Altuve’s Astros coming out on top in 7 games. The entire 2017 Astros team and their World Series will forever be tarnished after the cheating scandal. The questions surrounding that season from Yankee fans will forever be, what could have been?
Pleading Judge’s Captain Status
When you think of the current Yankees roster, the first man to come to mind is Aaron Judge. Judge is a big man standing at 6 ft. 7 in. weighing in at 282 pounds. The man is a giant. A stature not recognizable in the Yankees history. He’s a home run hitter who, as of late, has been incorporating the fundamentals of baseball. He’s been hitting for average with singles and doubles. Judge is currently batting .301 and doesn’t look to be slowing down. Judge very well could finish the 2021 season with a BA over .300. Aaron Judge is a team first player. He will do everything in his power to see his team succeed. Judge was born as a true leader, something we haven’t seen since Derek Jeter. It takes a strong person to play in New York City.
The fans will not let you get away with playing poorly. Aaron Judge has been booed plenty of times for his high amount of strikeouts and his cold streaks. When asked about the fans booing him, he always knows what to say. He goes out and proves to the state of New York that he is built for this kind of standard. Aaron Judge has been on record saying he wants to play in the Bronx his entire career. We don’t see a lot of loyalty in sports much anymore. It honestly wouldn’t surprise me if he would be willing to take a pay cut to stay in pinstripes.
My favorite quote by Aaron Judge came after the 2019 ALCS. “It’s a failure. In spring training we talked about winning the division, putting ourselves in a good spot in the postseason and the World Series, and we came up short. So no matter how many games we won in the regular season or anything else we did, the season’s a failure.”. He went on to take full accountability. He did not hold back. Judge never once said anything positive about the team. It takes a leader to take full responsibility for the team falling short.
Comparing Derek Jeter’s Captain Season To Aaron Judge’s 2021 Season
This is comparing only the 2003 season that Derek Jeter was officially named captain of the Yankees to Aaron Judge’s 2021 season to date. This is to give an idea backing Aaron Judge’s case.
Jeter’s 2003 stats- 119 G, 482 AB, 87 R, 156 H, 10 HR, 52 RBI, .324 BA, .450 SLG, .844 OPS
Judge’s 2021 stats- 119 G, 442 AB, 71 R, 132 H, 30 HR, 75 RBI, .301 BA, .545 SLG, .934 OPS
This is not to discredit the great Derek Jeter by any means. This is giving people the idea that Judge’s numbers are closer than what people may think. In the same amount of games, Jeter had 40 more AB. With the way Judge is playing, as of late, Judge’s numbers would be close to Jeter’s. Judge is also a guy who’s strike zone is more controversial than most players. People look at Judge’s strike out rate, which he does strike out a lot, but a lot of those calls are due to how massive his stature is. With the numbers Judge is putting up, how close they are to Jeter’s, this is one of the examples that would help his case at becoming the next captain.
Aaron Judge’s Case
Aaron Judge is the face of this franchise. All the points mentioned above prove that. 15 Yankees have held the title of captain, The one thing that will hold Aaron Judge back from being the next is his injuries. So far in 2021, Judge has been one of the few Yankees to be on the field the most. He changed his workout plan in spring training to help with his injuries. So far, so good as the expression goes. I truly believe if Aaron Judge can stay healthy, he will be a Yankee for life as well as the 16th captain of this historic franchise. He certainly has the ability to do so. The question stands, will Aaron Judge be the next captain of the New York Yankees?