HomeTrending MLB NewsAre We Too Quick To ‘Judge?’

Are We Too Quick To ‘Judge?’

It must be a trip to get booed on a day honoring you. But when you do boo-worthy things, New York Yankees can’t help themselves. Even Derek Jeter was booed once upon a time. Now, it’s Aaron Judge’s turn.

The slugger got the unwanted golden sombrero last Saturday, striking out four times in a 2-0 extra-inning loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, which lowered his average to .179. The kicker? It was Aaron Judge’s bobblehead day.

When asked about the boos, Judge told reporters “I’ve heard worse.”

Due to tearing a ligament in his toe, Judge only played 106 games with 458 plate appearances in 2023. In those appearances, he achieved a .267/.406/.613 slash line with 37 home runs. In his first 19 games this season, his slash line is .183/.330/.380 in 88 plate appearances with three home runs. Judge’s batted balls this season have an average launch angle below 20 degrees. His exit velocity is the second lowest of his career (94.8 mph), and his hard-hit rate is 48.1 percent. Many batted balls have resulted in ground outs to third base or shortstop. That shows that Judge has trouble getting to the fastball and laying off pitches inside the strike zone.

While last year’s toe injury didn’t require surgery, it’s something that Judge will require constant maintenance to ensure that it doesn’t handicap his speed and agility.

“I’m just missing the pitch,” Judge told reporters last weekend. “When I get a pitch in the zone, I’ve got to capitalize on it. I don’t get too many. That’s what it comes down to: Don’t miss your pitch when you get it.”

However, Judge’s struggles could be explained in a few ways. He publicly said that the toe injury still bothers him, and he sat out most of spring training due to abdominal discomfort (MRI showed nothing of significance).

Ruling out any other trips to the IL, Judge has 144 games to turn things around. Despite his lack of production, the Yankees are still 13-6 due to their starting rotation and the heroism of Juan Soto.

But New York Yankees Manager Aaron Boone isn’t worried.

“It’s hitting, man,” Boone said via MLB.com. “We’ll be here next year talking about a great player that’s in a little funk. We’re in April. It happens all the time with greatness every year. We’ll scratch our heads, and then you’ll look up in a few weeks and, wow, Aaron Judge is Aaron Judge.”

If this were Yankee Stadium in 1992, fans would’ve used those bobbleheads to express their displeasure in another way instead of just booing. Progress?

Stephon Johnson
Stephon Johnson
Stephon Johnson is a journalist, reporter, and writer who's covered sports, politics, education, and labor issues. He’s written for The Athletic, The Sports Fan Journal, The Hardball Times, The Classical, The Cauldron/Sports Illustrated, Baeble Music, Polygon, City & State New York, the New York Amsterdam News, and THE CITY.


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