NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge has enjoyed a month to remember, tying a Major League record for the most April home runs hit by a rookie, and the Yankees believe that the big-swinging outfielder has only scratched the surface of his capabilities.Judge entered play on Sunday tied for the American
NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge has enjoyed a month to remember, tying a Major League record for the most April home runs hit by a rookie, and the Yankees believe that the big-swinging outfielder has only scratched the surface of his capabilities.
Judge entered play on Sunday tied for the American League lead and third in the Majors with 10 homers. The only other rookies to hit 10 homers in April are Jose Abreu, who did it for the White Sox in 2014, and Trevor Story, who accomplished the feat for the Rockies last season.
"I'm just trying to go out there and do my work and just do my job for the team," Judge said. "We've got 25 guys in here that are going out there competing and having quality at-bats. I'm just trying to be a part of it."
Yankees designated hitter Matthew Holliday, a 14-year big league veteran, has said that he considers Judge "probably the most gifted baseball player I think I've ever been around" -- no small compliment, considering Holliday shared a clubhouse with Jose Pujols for four years.
"You just look at the guy in batting practice and he hits the ball 550 feet," Holliday said. "He can run and he can throw at 6-foot-8, 280 pounds. You just don't see it. I haven't seen anything like it. It's fun to watch. He's fun to watch. I think the whole stadium stops when he comes up to bat. That doesn't happen all the time."
Indeed, Judge has hit them high, he has hit them far, and he has hit them hard. One of Judge's homers off the Orioles' Kevin Gausman on April 28 was calculated at 119.4 mph off the bat, breaking Giancarlo Stanton's previous record (119.2 mph) for the hardest-hit homer in the Statcast™ era.
Judge is only the second Yankee age 25 or younger to hit at least 10 home runs in the team's first 22 games, joining Mickey Mantle, who did it in 1956. And it should be mentioned that Judge had another homer turned into a triple by a fan-interference call on April 16 against the Cardinals.
"I'm not sure you really expect 10 home runs from anybody in a month; that would be 60 in a year," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "But we knew he was extremely talented. I've said all along, if he gets the barrel of the bat to the ball, good things are going to happen. And that's what he's done."
In becoming one of three Yankees ever to slug double-digit homers in March/April -- joining Alexander Rodriguez (14 in 2007) and Graig Nettles (11 in 1974) -- Judge's teammates have learned to watch with anticipation each time he steps to the plate.
"I hate to put a number on him, but nothing would surprise me," Brett Gardner said. "The sky's the limit for him with his work ethic and the head that he's got on his shoulders, and the way that he approaches every day."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.