Judge continues raking with two homers in AFL win
Yanks' No. 5 prospect hits a pair of two-run homers in victory for Scottsdale
MESA, Ariz. -- When the 6-foot-7, 230-pound Aaron Judge steps into the batter's box, it's easy to imagine him crushing balls all over the yard.
In Scottsdale's 7-5 win over Mesa, no imagination was necessary as Judge put his power on display with a pair of homers.
Judge, the Yankees' No. 5 prospect according to MLBpipeline.com, was selected in the first round of the 2013 Draft and went 2-for-4 with two homers and four RBIs on Thursday.
The 22-year-old began the scoring with a towering two-run homer to left in the top of the first.
In the fourth, Judge hammered a fastball and hit a line drive over the wall to straightaway center for another two-run homer, his fourth of the Arizona Fall League season.
"It all started with our pitching and great defense," Judge said. "[Pirates prospect Tyler Glasnow] came out and had a good start. Against a good offensive team like Mesa, only holding them to one or two runs in the first few innings was huge for us. Then our defense, Tyler [Austin] had a good throw to get [Dalton] Pompey, who is a really fast runner, makes hitting a little easier for us."
Judge's Scottsdale teammates may have made things easier for him Thursday, but hitting for power has never been troublesome for the right fielder.
Judge won the TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby in 2012 while at Fresno State and also hit .308 with 17 homers in 131 games at Class A Advanced Tampa and Class A Charleston this season.
Judge also left his mark on the game defensively as he showed off his arm on back-to-back plays in the seventh.
With no outs and Blue Jays prospect Dalton Pompey on third, Angels prospect Chad Hinshaw flew out to right. Judge unleashed a strong throw home and Pompey, who had initially tagged up, retreated back to third.
However, the very next batter, Angels prospect Cal Towey, hit a fly ball to right, and this time Pompey elected to challenge Judge's arm. He lost.
"A little bit, but you've always got to be prepared," Judge said when asked if he was surprised Pompey took off. "I wanted to make a play for [Tyler Rogers]. He was pitching his butt off out there, so I wanted to make a play for him."
The multi-hit effort extended Judge's AFL hitting streak to five games, but he's far from the only Yankee prospect thriving at the plate and will be joined by another Yankees prospect in Saturday's Fall Stars Game.
"I'm excited," Judge said. "It's an honor to represent the Yankees. Greg Bird's going to be there with me too, so I'm just going to go out there and have some fun and play some ball."
Bird, the No. 11 prospect in the Yankees organization, finished 2-for-2 with a pair of walks and now has 19 hits in 24 AFL games.
Tyler Austin, the Yankees 2012 Minor League Player of the Year and No. 15 prospect, had his third multi-hit game in the last four contests, as he went 3-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base.
"It's huge when you affiliate teammates do well like that," Judge said. "It's fun watching them. Bird's a great competitor and Tyler Austin, he's always hungry. It's fun to watch."
Austin, like Judge, was credited with an outfield assist.
In the bottom of the third, Mesa had a runner on third with one out and A's prospect Daniel Robertson hit a fly ball to left. Pompey thought he could tag up and score on the play, but Austin caught the fly ball and promptly fired a strike to the plate to complete the double play.
The New York trio finished 7-for-10 as Scottsdale stopped its two-game skid and fought its way back to a game under .500.