Aaron Judge has reshaped the baseball landscape in just half a season
Rookies are supposed to bend to the will of the game. That's how the story goes. Like Victorian-era children, rookies should be seen and not heard. The jump from the Minors to the Majors is supposed to be a gaping chasm, and anyone that makes the jump will struggle upon landing as they face faster fastballs and curvier breaking balls.
Because, in half of a season, Judge has resculpted the baseball landscape in his image. Let us recount the says.
Almost no one is as tall as the 6-foot-7 Judge. Baseball players certainly aren't.
According to the highly scientific "Moose and Doc," website, the average American male is 5-foot-10. Here is a scientific representation:
The average height of a Major League player is around 6-foot-1. And the few players that were Judge's height tend to struggle mightily when it comes to making contact as they have such a large strike zone and so many levers and pulleys that can go the wrong way.
Not only has the Yankees slugger raised the average height for Major Leaguers this year, he is is already fifth all-time for home runs for a player 79 inches or taller.
As baseball's Large Adult Son, we expect dingers. We also expect Judge to be fairly slow. Close your eyes and think of Aaron Judge in your mind. If you don't picture him at DH or first base, then I applaud you. Despite playing a strong right-field and making a number of great catches, it still boggles a mind conditioned by decades of baseball 'assumption' that he should play anywhere but the most lazy of positions.
But Judge can fly. According to Statcast, the giant can race after baseballs at the speed of 28.5 feet per second -- probably yelling fee-fi-fo-fum the whole way:
3. Sheer power
In the first two years of Statcast,
No longer. Welcome to the world remade in Aaron Judge's image. Look at the exit velocity charts on home runs this year. Yeah...
And for home run distance, no one touches Judge, either:
Oh yeah, and Judge also unseated Stanton as the HR Derby champ which, if I read the fine print right, means all home runs must be referred to as "Aaron Judge-approved dingeritis" until next year's Derby.
4. Big air
Sorry to get your hopes up, but Judge isn't a skateboarder ... that we know of. At the Derby, Judge bashed two balls off the Marlins Park roof. Not only is he the first player to do such a thing, but the park was designed so that the dome would be too high for a mere mortal to reach it.
Oops. Looks like the physics of what is possible has to be changed in this world where Judge exists.
LINK/GIF from Jess post. xx
When Barry Bonds broke the home run record with 73 home runs in 2001, it seemed like he broke baseball. Pull up his Baseball-Reference page and you would be faced with an endless bevy of bolded numbers indicating that he led the league in that category. He led in homers, walks, on-base percentage, slugging, OPS and OPS+. That's six categories.
The same is true of Judge. As of this writing, Judge leads in eight: runs, homers, walks, on-base percentage, slugging, OPS, OPS+ and total bases.
Now, I don't want to say he's having a better season than arguably the greatest season in baseball history, but ...
Remember, Judge is a rookie. So even if you can accept his hot start, you would expect that left-handed pitchers would at least be able to decimate the inexperienced slugger.
Not so much. Judge is actually hitting better against his southpaw foes with a higher batting average, on-base-percentage and slugging against the hurlers.
That shouldn't be possible. And yet, like everything
6. Goodbye natural borders
More than any other sport, baseball is a regional game. Most are fans of the team they're Dad loved -- which usually means it's the one in their local area. Aaron Judge is changing that. He's getting MVP chants in Anaheim. There are mini-Judges showing up in Oakland.
If you look at a map of the United States, it actually is just a piece in the thousand-piece puzzle devoted toJudge.
The scariest thing is that he's done this in half a season. What happens if the first-half isn't just a hot streak, but is just the start?