Aaron Judge is having a memorable season for the New York Yankees. Just how will we remember it? Well, that’s the part to be determined. You see, Judge is hitting homers at a tremendous rate – threatening to break Roger Maris’ American League (and Yankees) record for long balls.
Even if it doesn’t get to that point, it threatens to hit more residents than anyone in one season in 20 years. Oh, and he could make a lot of money in the process, from the Yankees or someone else, after turning down an extension offer in the spring.
So, it’s time to start watching his hunt for history.
How many homers does Aaron Judge have now?
52. Judge hit the big run count against the Angels on Monday night, and added two more this week. No. 52 was too little, too late for the Yankees in a loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night. Even as Judge continues to play, New York’s once-ironclad lead in the AL East is dwindling.
Judge became just the 10th player in MLB history with two or more 50-homer seasons. Sosa, McGwire and Ruth have the most all-time with four each. The last player to record a second 50-homer season was Rodriguez. He finished with a total of three.
Judge, who is 30 years old and in the midst of a career season, certainly has a chance to continue climbing this list.
Here is the breakdown by month:
How many homers does Aaron Judge have to hit in 2022?
If he plays all of the Yankees’ remaining games, Judge’s current hitting streak will take him to 64, eclipsing Roger Maris’ 1961 record of 61.
Of course, he’s not a lock to play every game, and he’s certainly not guaranteed to maintain his amazing pace. The ZiPS and Steamer projection systems at FanGraphs both project Judge for 60 homers right now.
If he eclipses 57, it would be just the 17th MLB season with that many homers.
What home run records is Aaron Judge chasing?
While Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire broke Maris’ long-standing record in the late 90s, in the early 2000s, they all did it in the National League. The Yankees great’s mark of 61 still stands in the AL.
In fact, the leading AL home run seasons are still held by players such as Roger Maris, Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx and Hank Greenberg. The closest any modern player came to beating Maris was Alex Rodriguez’s 57-game campaign for the Texas Rangers in 2002.
Maris and Ruth (in 1927) have the only 60-homer seasons in Yankees history, with Ruth also recording a 59-homer year in 1921. Judge himself was the last Yankee to surpass the 50-homer mark , during the Rookie of the Year – winner in 2017.
Is there another story on the line?
As he competes for a potential AL MVP award, Judge could also win Giancarlo Stanton’s single-season teammate title among active players. Stanton smashed 59 homers during his 2017 NL MVP season for the Miami Marlins.
How will Aaron Judge’s season affect free agency?
The Yankees made a pretty reasonable contract offer before the season started — seven years, $213.5 million that would have started in 2023. Judge and the Yankees agreed to a $19 million salary for 2022 just before going to arbitration. Judge, of course, was always well within his rights to push toward the free agent market. And as it turned out, he made the right decision.
His 2022 was a smash, one of the most glorious contract wins in recent memory. While the Yankees’ season as a whole has cooled off recently, Judge is still expecting a monster payday. At this point, Homer’s story doesn’t matter as much as maintaining his overall excellence and avoiding serious injuries. Judge was the second best hitter in baseball in 2022, 92% better than the league average hitter by park-adjusted wRC+ metric, second only to Paul Goldschmidt.
When it goes on the market this winter, it could now reasonably command something close to $300 million. The main limiting factor is his age. He’ll turn 31 in April, which puts a cap on the length most teams would be willing to sign him.
Beyond the Yankees, his potential suitors could include the San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets and Boston Red Sox.