And the chase has been fascinating to watch.
But it’s not just about that potential record-setting home run, is it? Every blast along the way has been a meaningful one, whether it was 53 (a new career high for him), or 59 (which gave him an American League record for a right-handed hitter), or 61, or potentially 62 (obviously).
Which, really, is an interesting thing to think about. If you’re planning to see Judge’s home run chase in person, where might you want to be to catch a piece of history?
We of course can’t know exactly when and where Judge will hit however remaining home runs he’s got in him. But we do know exactly where he’ll be, because we’ve got the rest of the schedule. We know exactly where he’s homered in the past. None of this guarantees where any of his homers might land. But looking back might just help you look forward.
Where does Judge hit his homers in general?
While many power hitters favor the pull field -- note, for example, that Nolan Arenado pulled every one of first 26 homers this year -- Judge is an equal-opportunity masher. That speaks a little to his prodigious power, really; he’s so strong that he doesn’t need to get to his pull power to get it out.
Of all the players with at least 100 homers since 2017, when Judge played his first full season, only two players have had a higher share of their home runs go to the opposite field. He is pulling his homers slightly more this year -- nearly half of them -- but for the most part, he sprays those dingers all over the place. That makes for a fun spray chart; it might make it a little harder to know where to post up for a ball.
You might also think that because Judge hits his homers so hard -- at 109.1 mph, the third hardest of anyone with 10 homers hit -- he's probably clearing the fence by a lot. For the most part, that's true. As of Aug. 26, 162 hitters had 10 homers this year, and Judge clears the fence by an average of 46 feet. That's actually only 10th most, because other hitters get to call Coors Field and Fenway Park home, but it also means that sitting in the first row might not be the best bet.
Let’s look at the last remaining park he’ll play in and see how he's sprayed the bleachers there -- if he has at all.
At Globe Life Field, Oct. 4-5
Has Judge homered there before? No. (He hit five at the previous Texas ballpark.)
That’s right, four games in three days, because Tuesday, Oct. 4, is a doubleheader. It’s difficult to imagine, with the division clinched, that Judge will really play both games in the outfield, or even at all. But with the record still in reach, the DH is an option should Aaron Boone choose to make use of it.
Judge has played there just four times, all last season, without a home run. It’s hard to judge what this park is, given that 2022 is just the second full season of play there. In the shortened season of 2020, as well as in the playoff games it hosted that year, it seemed like an absolute cavern, a pitcher’s paradise. That held true last year too, but in 2022, it’s been at least a little easier for righties to go deep. (And somehow, quite good for lefties.)
The new Globe Life has a considerable amount of outfield seating, giving us a Toronto-esque problem. Let’s throw a dart at left-center field here.
Where you should be: Section 139 is a little farther away than Section 30 is -- just under it -- but it also hangs over its closer cousin, too. Don’t sit in a section below an overhang if you want to catch a ball. Sit in Section 139. Sit there for four games in three days.