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Monday, May 8, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: AARON JUDGE

I think Aaron Judge just homered again.  Seriously with one-plus month of the 2017 fantasy baseball season in the books, you can argue that New York Yankees slugging outfielder Aaron Judge has been the story of the year so far in terms of those who use a bat to do their work.  While Ryan Zimmerman and Eric Thames have been monsters in their own right, Judge is becoming a cult sensation with his crazy exit velocities and never-ending feats of power.  Going into the team's Sunday night game versus the Chicago Cubs, Judge stands with the following numbers at the age of 25:

13 H
28 R
27 RBI
.320 AVG
1 SB

Needless to say, those are awesome numbers and easily make Judge one of the vest best value plays in all of 2017 fantasy baseball considering he went in the middle rounds on average.  This is especially surprising when you take into account the very brutal debut Judge made last season when he unbelievably struck out in an even 50 percent of his at-bats and and average 2.2 plate appearances per K.  That resulted in a horrible .179 and just 4 home runs in 95 at-bats and also had the Yankees entertaining using Aaron Hicks as the rightfielder to begin the season.  That talk is all moot now as Judge has made tremendous improvements in his approach as seen in the following numbers.

For one thing, Judge's K/9 of 44.2 in 2016 has been lowered to 26.5 this season.  Want more?  How about Judge swinging at pitches out of the strike zone 33.6 percent of the time last season and then dropped that number to 23.3 percent this year.  Judge is figuring out the strike zone and so with better contact, the baseballs are flying out at a crazy rate.

No matter how you look at him, Aaron Judge looks like the next slugging star in fantasy baseball.  I do think the average will come down closer to .280 given his still elevated K/9 rate but 40 home runs is certain at this rate and maybe a run at 50.  While the temptation may be there to sell high, I woukd suggest holding Judge to see how high this can go.


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