Two incredible Aaron Judge stats beyond 51 home runs

Aaron Judge
Jose Altuve and Aaron Judge are neck and neck…in the MVP race.

Aaron Judge is much better than advertised. Here are two stats that are not directly connected to his rookie home run record, but help define how great he has been in 2017.

On-base percentage = .421. During his extended slump, a misconception emerged that Judge was a home run or nothing type of hitter, swinging for the bleachers on every swing. He certainly has his fair share of strikeouts, leading baseball with 206 in 674 plate appearances. That means he’s striking out 30% of the time…but he’s still getting on base 42% of the time! As Jayson Stark recently pointed out, no one has ever come within 50 percentage points of Judge’s .421 OBP while striking out 200+ times. And to put a .421 OBP in context, Hank Aaron was a career .305 hitter who never eclipsed .410, and MVP candidate Jose Altuve has an OBP of .412 this year.

Pitches seen = 2974. If you watch Judge on a regular basis, you may know that pitchers would probably prefer to just begin the at bat with a 3-2 count to save their arms. The total of 2974 pitches seen lead all MLB hitters in 2017. A lot has been made about the fact that Judge walks, strikes out, or homers in roughly 57% of his at bats. There is a misconception about the negativity of a strike out. On paper, the strikeout accomplishes nothing–runners don’t advance and an out is recorded. But a strikeout takes at least three pitches from the opposing pitcher, which is more productive that a first pitch double play, which has happened to Judge only twice this year.

Here’s a bonus for fun: Listed below are the ages, heights, and weights of Aaron Judge, Rob Gronkowski, Giancarlo Stanton, and Jose Altuve. Which is which?

Player A: 28 years old, 6’6″, 265 lbs

Player B: 27 years old, 6’6″, 245 lbs

Player C: 25 years old, 6’7″, 282 lbs

Player D: 27 years old, 5’6″, 165 lbs

Here are Judge’s career numbers.


Wild card race could be historic

The American League wild card standings are absurdly close with a few weeks remaining in the baseball season. At the moment, there are six teams within 3.5 games of the Minnesota Twins, who hold the second wild card position. Five of those chasers have 71 victories, and at one point yesterday four of them were .500 for the year.

The second wild card is a blessing for baseball, especially when you consider the lack of excitement in the division races this season. The American League East and National League Central are the only divisions where teams lead by less than 9.0 games. The Washington Nationals clinched their division yesterday, and the Los Angeles Dodgers would be in the postseason by now if they didn’t miraculously lose ten straight. It is ridiculous that the Arizona Diamondbacks have won 16 of 19, while LA has lost 15 of 16, and yet the Dodgers still have a 9.0 game lead.

The wild card race in the American League is still too cluttered to try and follow. There are too many teams playing each other, and any of the eight teams could re-position themselves before October baseball. We could have tiebreaker games for teams to play in the tiebreaker game! It is still very possible for three teams to reach the postseason from the same division–and that’s true for any of the three divisions.┬áCheck out the crazy standings.

Eliminate the second wild card, and the only race to follow in the American League is whether the Yankees can catch the Red Sox (3.5 back), or if one of the wild card contenders catch the Yankees (Minnesota is 3.5 back). The difference in drama with a a couple of weeks left is remarkable, as the second wild card is by far the best recent adjustment MLB has made.