September 14, 2022

Judge Has 57 Home Runs (5 Away From New AL Record) With 20 Games Remaining

Mike Trout did not hit a home run in an eighth consecutive game on Tuesday, but Aaron Judge went deep twice at Fenway Park. With 20 games remaining in the Yankes' regular season, Judge has hit 57 homers.

That's a lot of dongs, but the most remarkable thing about it is that no other player is anywhere close. Judge has hit 22 more home runs than Mike Trout, who is second in the AL with 35. Kyle Schwarber leads the NL with 37. Which means that September 13, 2022 was the first time a player finished a calendar day with at least 20 more home runs than every other MLB player since the final day of the 1928 season (September 30), when Babe Ruth (54) led NL co-leaders Jim Bottomley and Hack Wilson (31) by 23 taters. In the AL, Ruth hit exactly twice as many home runs as the runner-up (Lou Gehrig, 27). Ruth also out-homered seven of the other 15 teams.

Judge's 57 home runs have come in 138 games (out of the Yankees' 142). He's batted in all of those games, so I checked Baseball Reference's Stathead for who hit the most home runs through 138 games played, with at least one plate appearance. Judge is the fourth player (and first American Leaguer) to hit as many as 57 home runs in his first 138 games of a season. All instances have happened in the last 25 years.

50+ HR In First 138 Games Played In A Season

                                    HR     Finished
Barry Bonds, Giants, 2001           64        73
Mark McGwire, Cardinals, 1998  62 70
Sammy Sosa, Cubs, 1998    58 66
Sammy Sosa, Cubs, 1999  58 63
Aaron Judge, Yankees, 2022  57   ?
Mark McGwire, Cardinals, 1999  56 65
Ryan Howard, Phillies, 2006    56 58
Babe Ruth, Yankees, 1921    55 59
Roger Maris, Yankees, 1961    54 61
Sammy Sosa, Cubs, 2001    53 64
Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins, 2017    53 59
Babe Ruth, Yankees, 1927    52 60
Mickey Mantle, Yankees, 1961  52 54
Babe Ruth, Yankees, 1920  51 54
Jimmie Foxx, Athletics, 1932  51 58
Luis Gonzalez, Diamondbacks, 2001   51 57
Hank Greenberg, Tigers, 1938  50 58

Two players – Ruth and Sosa - appear on the list three times. 

Sosa wallopped 66, 63, 50, and 64 home runs for the Cubs from 1998-2001  and the only time he led the National League was with the 50 in 2000 (he led MLB, actually). While McGwire won the HR race in 1998 and everyone moans about Bonds, Sosa seems to be the forgotten guy from that era  especially since he's the only player to hit 60+ home runs in three seasons. Only 256 players (1.1% of all major leaguers) have hit as many as 243 home runs in their careers. Sosa matched that in four seasons.

Judge rejected a reported offer of a seven-year contract extension worth $213.5 million during the spring. One source said Judge was looking for at least nine years and roughly $325 million. I can't imagine it's easy to say "Nah" to more than 200 million beans, especially when you're as fragile as Judge has regularly seemed.

After walking away from that offer, he's having his best season. He'll (probably) not see the IL this year and (probably) set a new AL single-season record for home runs. As Mo Vaughn could tell you, Judge's price is increasing every day. If the Yankees want to keep him (and he wants to stay), they're going to have to wow him with a contract that will, in all likelihood, become a historic albatross. I look forward to watching the MFY buckle under the pressure and reluctantly agree to a 10-year deal at close to $40 per.

1 comment:

FenFan said...

Judge seems to have no problem with possibly playing for the MFY's biggest rival next season.

It's the best, [the fans are] some of the best in baseball. They're going to boo you, they're going to say some things, they're going to make you laugh. It's all part of it. A lot of great history here, and this is one of the best places to play, so it's always fun going out there and trying to put on a show for them.

Now, whether the Red Sox are willing to give $40M per year to a player like Judge for the next 10-12 years remains to be seen, although that does not seem in character with the message being delivered by the front office in the last few seasons.

Personally, I'd rather see that money go towards Devers and Bogaerts, or at least Devers.