Tuesday, May 15, 2018


Sometimes the sequel can be just as good as the original showing.  New York Yankees All-Star outfielder Aaron Judge is putting this premise to the test so far in the 2018 season as his monster 2017 rookie campaign that broke all sorts of records seemed like it was simply impossible to match.  Having hit a ridiculous 52 home runs, collected 114 RBI, and scored 114 runs, Judge was a human video game performer almost throughout the entire season (save for a late-July-August dip that was remedied by a crazy good finish).  About the only knock on Judge was his insane 30.7 K/9 rate which did need a lucky .357 BABIP to help him hit .284.  With those numbers as a backdrop, Judge became a late-first or early second-round pick in 2018 fantasy baseball drafts but he also was going behind new teammate Giancarlo Stanton as well amid batting average concerns and thoughts of a possible sophomore slump.  Well if the first month-plus of the season is any indication, there won't be much of a sophomore slump if any as Judge went into Monday's action with the following numbers:

11 HR
35 RBI
33 R
2 SB

While he is a bit behind last year's home run output (not a shock since opposing pitchers are being much more careful with him this season), Judge is surprisingly hitting over .300 and collecting his usul boatload of runs and RBI.  After swiping a bonus 9 bases a year ago, Judge has even picked up two more bags so far.  With Stanton struggling through uneven performances so far, Judge has been the much better pick of the two.  Now in digging into the numbers a bit further, a few things stand out.  The first is that Judge's .417 BABIP is ridiculously lucky and so he is not profiling as a .300 hitter but probably more like the .280-ish guy he was a year ago.  Judge is also still striking out a ton as his 29.3 K/9 is almost matching his 30.7 mark a year ago.  That means the average is headed for a fall but this is what was anticipated all along as no one saw Judge as a .300 guy.  On the flip side, Judge's 18.5 BB/9 is as good as it gets and that will help offset any additional average decline when the inevitable slump arrives.  Outside of that minor quibble, Judge has been worth every penny you spent on him at the draft table.  The guy is a flat-out star no matter how you slice it and so Judge is ready to ultimately challenge Stanton to be the supreme home run slugger in all of fantasy baseball going forward both this season and beyond.

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