The New York Yankees have been one of the most pleasant surprises of the 2017 MLB season.
Despite having a young lineup and a (mostly) unproven rotation, New York remains alive in the race for the AL East. Before Friday’s action, the Yankees have a 57-50 record. Even though they are second in the division behind the Boston Red Sox, they are firmly entrenched in the Wild Card race. However, not everything is happiness at Yankee Stadium.
Their cause for concern does not relate to injuries. It doesn’t have anything to do with the struggles of Masahiro Tanaka, either. No. The reason why everyone is concerned in New York is Aaron Judge. Yes, that same player who is likely to win the AL Rookie Of The Year Award. He is having an impressive season, there’s no doubt. But he hasn’t been the same player since the All-Star Break.
It only takes a quick look to realize Judge is in a huge slump. Even though he is hitting .299 with 34 homers and 75 RBI, the splits are quite noticeable. Let’s have a look:
Pre All-Star Break: .329/.448/.691, 1.139 OPS, 30 HR, 66 RBI
Post-All-Star Break: .164/.313/.343, .657 OPS, 4 HR, 9 RBI
In one word? Yikes. Judge looked like an MVP candidate before the All-Star Break. But he has looked like a struggling player who needs a trip to the minors to figure it out after it. We know Judge is not headed back to the minors, but there are not many reasons for his struggles.
One reason could be the fact that participating in the Home Run Derby messed up his swing. Several players avoid participating in the event to avoid that risk. However, that adjustment should be made in only a couple of games, and the event was played in early July. So that’s not a viable excuse.
Another reason could be the fact that the league eventually figured him out. That sounds more likely, but it might not be the case either. It seems the real reason why Judge is struggling is simply that he needs to rest. A few days should do the trick, and that’s why Joe Girardi chose to send him back to the bench. A few games away from the spotlights could be just what he needs to get his year back on track.
Judge remains the odds-on favorite to win the AL Rookie Of The Year Award. And while he has lost ground in the AL MVP race, he should get back on track quite soon. Yankees fans shouldn’t worry about Judge’s slump. Young players tend to go through these moments from time to time. And considering the kind of talent he is, Judge should get back to his pre-All-Star Break form sooner than later.
After all, the Yankees need him badly if they want to catch the Red Sox in the AL East race.