Back in spring training New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge rejected a very reasonable seven-year contract extension worth $213.5 million. It was a bold decision, no doubt about it, and Judge has responded this season by doing what seemed impossible: he’s made himself more money. Some players would crack under that pressure. Judge hasn’t. He’s thrived.
Through Sunday’s games Judge owns a .301/.389/.669 batting line and an MLB-leading 43 home runs. He also leads baseball in runs scored (91), RBI (97), total bases (267), OPS (1.058), OPS+ (196), and both the FanGraphs (6.8) and Baseball Reference (6.3) versions of WAR. The race for the home run title isn’t much of a race at all.
Here is the MLB home run leaderboard as of Aug. 8:
- Aaron Judge, Yankees: 43
- Kyle Schwarber, Phillies: 34
- Yordan Alvarez, Astros: 30
- Austin Riley, Braves: 29
- Pete Alonso, Mets: 29
Despite going homerless this past weekend Judge has been on a rampage since the All-Star break, going deep 10 times in 16 games played in the second half. He has more second half homers than the Marlins. Literally the entire team. Miami has somehow managed to hit only eight homers since the All-Star break.
Slugging 43 homers through 109 team games puts Judge on pace to hit 64 home runs this season (63.9, to be exact). We are now more than a week into August and Judge has maintained a home run pace that not only gives him a chance at 60 homers, but also a chance to set a new American League single-season record. That is still Roger Maris’ 61 homers with the 1961 Yankees.