With Spring Training being upon, Bleeding Yankee Blue is continuing this series, highlighting the kids that are vying for a coveted spot on the major league roster. We are going over their respective backgrounds – how they have been playing, their strengths, their weaknesses, and what to look for.
Aaron Judge is a big, right-handed power-hitter and outfielder that has gotten the attention of many in the Yankees farm system. He just completed his first season in the minors, after the Yankees picked him up in the 2013 draft. He was able to play in 65 games with the Charleston Riverdogs before they promoted him to the Tampa Yankees.
His claim to fame is obviously his bat. He is an imposing sight, standing at 6’ 7” and 230 lbs. His size reflects in his power, being able to hit 17 home runs in Charleston and Tampa. In his case, it equates to one home run in every 27.5 at-bats, making him a strong power threat. He has a combined slash line of .308/.419/.486 and an OPS of .905. The opportunity to have a power bat of that caliber in the lineup is huge. He also has good mobility in the field, and his strong arm makes him a good candidate for a corner outfield spot, probably right field.
There are two downsides to Aaron Judge. The first one has to do with his size. His enormous arms, which give him the ability to drive the ball far, also make him vulnerable to strikeouts. He struck out 131 times in 2014, to the rate of about one strikeout per 3.6 at-bats. That just will not do in the majors. The other challenge with him is lack of experience in the majors. Again, he only has one year’s worth of experience, and he has yet to be promoted to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Look for the Yankees to see how Aaron Judge handles some major league pitching, especially if he can consistently make contact. As he needs to work on keeping strikeouts down, they’ll be looking to see how well he can adjust to pitches, especially the inside fastball. Judge is not expected to make the team this year, but I expect him to be on the Yankees’ 2016 plan. He will either start in Tampa or Scranton, with the possibility of being a September call-up. Either way, it will good to see what he does this Spring to impress the Yankees.
--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Senior Staff Writer
My blog is: Shots from Murderer's Row
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