The Judge Is Still In
Number 99, right fielder for the New York Yankees… Do I really need to say anymore? Aaron Judge has come out with a bang, receiving AL Rookie of the Year in 2017 and is keeping the success up with 25 home runs already, and we are only half way through the season. With the Yankees now behind the Boston Red Sox by 2 games (as of July 9th), he needs to keep producing. I thought it would be interesting to see where his success is and where his struggles may lie.
Judge hits fly balls for hits 1.6% of the time, which leads his team. This would be his greatest success in the batter’s box. From the graph below we can see that his success is over the fence. This makes sense, since he is known of the long ball. The most interesting part of this graph is that many of his long balls are center field, which is usually the furthest point on the diamond. This would say that he has power, and there is a slight lean toward right field. This is interesting since he is a right-handed batter, and they tend to pull the ball (hit ball toward left side of field), which we will see later that he is guilty of.
As a young baseball player, we are told to hit line drives. For Judge, line drives aren’t his most successful tool, but he does get a line drive hit .4% of the time. He does seem to pull most of his line drive hits, which isn’t a lot. They seem to be around the third base area, so most likely right over the third baseman's head into left field. But from the small sample size, we can't conclude this would happen most of the time, since there is an orange stretch going over the entire field. Since he doesn’t hit many line drives, we can't really conclude anything fully.
Judge isn’t known for his ground ball hits, but they are far and few between, occurring .4% of the time. Again, he seems to pull the ball toward the third baseball/shortstop. But again, with the small sample size, it is hard to conclude this is what he commonly does. But the area is much smaller than the line drive graph, so we can be a bit more confident that Judge’s ground balls are going toward the left side, most likely deep, where he is beating out the throw.
Judge gets out 1.5% of the time when he makes contact. From the graph below, when he doesn’t get it out of the infield, bad things happen. We could chalk this up as bad contact, which is most likely the reason. He could be pulling off outside pitches, thinking too much, or just misjudging the pitch, resulting in poor contact. I would say to work on driving up the middle, and he will keep producing.
These graphs give an interesting visual of where Aaron Judge is getting his success. He is very successful over the fence, mainly center to left center. He is not successful when he hits it to the infield, which could be for multiple different reason. Figure out those reasons, and Judge will continue to produce, but don’t make him think too much. That usually makes any player mess up more and lose the production, which is something the Yankees can't afford right now.
CBS INTERACTIVE. 2005-2018. https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/players/playerpage/2071264/aaron-judge.
MLB Advanced Media, LP. Statcast Search. n.d. https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/statcast_search.