In the first half of the 2017 rookie Aaron Judge was a monster. Before the All Star break Judge was hitting .329 with 30 Home Runs and 66 RBI while having an OPS of 1.149. However since the All Star Break Judge has only batted .167 with 5 Home Runs and 12 RBIs over 24 games. In that span his average has dipped down to .294 and his OPS to 1.038. Don’t get me wrong those numbers are still great for a rookie who struck out almost half the time in 2016. His first half contributions were how the Yankees were in first place for the majority of the first half. If he doesn’t get back to some sort of production then the Yankees will be in big trouble.
The Yankees recent offensive struggle’s are only partly Judge’s fault as youngsters Clint Frazier and Gary Sanchez have struggled along with some of the veterans including Todd Frazier, Jacoby Ellsbury, and others. However a big key of this lineup waking up will be Judge getting back to some of his first half success. Recently Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay said on his radio show that Aaron Judge needs to get back to 60-75% of his first half self. A playoff team needs to have a productive number 3 and 4 hitters to have any success in the regular season and postseason. Judge basically carried this team on his back throughout the first half. Now with his slump it’s starting to show that the team is having trouble without his contributions.
So his slump has many fans thinking what happened? Was it the Home Run Derby? Is he chasing more pitches? Have they found his flaw? The truth is it’s a combination of the latter two. Since the second half started teams have pounded him up with fastballs and low and away with breaking balls and he seems to bite. Until he makes an adjustment teams are going to keep throwing these same pitches. So far we haven’t seen him make any adjustments and every at bat he’s been going out their doing the same thing. Striking out more and walking less. Lately he’s been taking pitches down the middle and swinging at breaking balls outside of the zone. That is because he anticipates that he will be pitched around so on 2 strike counts he will expect a breaking ball outback of the zone bust instead gets a fastball down the middle and strikes out looking.
Judge isn’t the only struggling hitter on this Yankee team right now. His major sucess in the first half was what carried this team and now that we’re in the stretch run he seems to be letting all the fans down. Expectations are a bit to high for him based off of that first half but he still needs to get some of his first half sucess back. And soon.