Rising Star Aaron Judge's Impactful Journey in MLB

By Olivia Weaving August 13, 2023

A look into the inspiring career trajectory of Aaron Judge, a phenomenal baseball player who despite initial struggles, managed to bounce back as a home run record breaker and was recognized as one of the faces of baseball.

Upon reflection, the initial two major league games by Aaron Judge was a harbinger of the sporting prowess to come. Judge was thrown into the limelight on August 13, 2016, and from the first major league pitch he faced against Matt Andriese of the Rays, he knocked it out of the park. Living up to significant expectations, he hit another home run the next day and bagged a couple of hits in his third game.

"I was under the impression I had it all figured out", Judge confessed to the Daily News on the eve of his seventh MLB anniversary. "You have the illusion that you've solved it all after hitting home runs in your first, second, and third games. However, the game evolves in response to you." And certainly, it did.

Judge’s initial prominence seemed to fade as he managed a .179/.263/.345 hit rate over 27 games in 2016, hitting only two more home runs and barely achieving 10 RBI. Despite the unglamorous figures, Judge's exposure to the major league offered a valuable learning experience. He could adapt his training methodology and travel practices to fit the demands of high-level sports.

Transitioning from the minor leagues to the ‘big leagues’ was a game-changer, he said. It was a constant learning process, the challenging experience helped him prepare better for upcoming seasons. His adaptability came in handy as he outmaneuvered pitchers, attributing this as instrumental in his professional development.

Fast forward, his performance has notably improved since the 2016 season. In 2017, he broke the rookie record by hitting 52 home runs and went ahead to win the American League’s Rookie of the Year award. Despite being dogged by injuries at times, he stood tall to hit 54 longballs over 2018 and 2019.

He played just 28 games during 2020’s pandemic-curtailed season, yet managed to hit 39 home runs in 2021. His stunning season, where he beat the AL home run record with 62 under his belt, gained him a whopping nine-year, $360 million contract this past offseason. Moreover, he was also honored as the Yankees’ captain.

Speaking before a game against the Marlins, Aaron Boone praised Judge for his exceptional skill and leadership qualities.

"He's a very consequential figure in the game, a guiding light for the franchise,” said Boone. He also appreciated Judge's camaraderie with his team, allowing him to inspire and support his teammates effectively.

Boone labeled Judge as one of the beacons of baseball, comparing him with the Angels’ two-way superstar, Shohei Ohtani. Despite suffering injuries this seasion, including a not fully healed torn toe ligament, Judge’s performance continues to be top-notch.

This ‘big league’s humility’ hasn't evaded Judge, even with his many accomplishments. "I am humbled every day," admitted Judge.

In the upcoming series in Atlanta, DJ LeMahieu is expected to return after missing several games due to a calf injury. In spite of the discomfort, LeMahieu is eager to get back on the field.

Meanwhile, Carlos Rodón's recovery seems promising, with Boone hoping he would soon return from the injured list.