Here’s something you already know: New York Yankees rookie sensation Aaron Judge is slamming baseballs all over MLB parks this season.
But here’s something you might not — and it could be a key component in Monday night’s Home Run Derby at Marlins Park in Miami, in which Judge promises to the most-watched competitor. The secret to Aaron Judge’s dominance this season? It’s not how FAR he hits baseballs, it’s how HARD he hits them.
Thanks to Major League Baseball’s Statcast data-tracking system, we have more metrics about what happens on a baseball field than ever before. We’ve known for a long time how far home runs travel, but in the last couple years, we’re learning more about how hard they’re hit and how quickly they travel. And that is Judge’s bread and butter this season, as he leads MLB with 30 homers.
Judge’s homers travel seven miles per hour faster than the league average. His average homer comes off the bat at 110.7 miles per hour, the highest such figure in MLB this season. Even Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, the winner of last year’s derby and the man many fans hope will meet Judge in the finals, can’t quite match that.
Here’s a closer at Judge, Stanton and the other leaders in homer exit velocity:
The homers are one thing, but you know what? Judge hits other balls at astounding speeds too. He owns the top four hits in MLB this season, ranked by exit velocity, and five of the top six. Three of them are homers, but he’s hitting singles and doubles hard too:
1. Aaron Judge — 121.1 mph — Homer (June 10)
2. Aaron Judge – 119.8 mph – Single (June 8)
3. Aaron Judge – 119.4 mph – Homer (April 28)
4. Aaron Judge – 119.0 mph – Double (May 5)
5. Giancarlo Stanton – 118.7 mph – Double (May 2)
6. Aaron Judge – 118.6 mph — Homer (June 11)
Judge’s sheer strength and size — he’s 6-foot-7 and 282 pounds — are intimidating on their own, but when he hits the ball that hard, he’s as much monster as slugger.
In the Home Run Derby on Monday night, a lot of eyes will be Judge’s home-run distances. That’s not wrong. But it’s only part of the story. If you want to fully experience the power and dominance of Aaron Judge, look at the exit velocities too.
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