All rise for Judge as AL MVP


Judge vying for MVP honors in contract year


Aaron Judge

In the category of favorites for American League MVP, we present for your consideration Aaron Judge.

Indeed, the New York Yankees’ slugging outfielder is in the midst of a career year, one that might take him beyond his total of 52 home runs in his rookie season of 2017 and the AL East-leading Bombers to their first World Series since 2009.

As of the All-Star break, New York’s gargantuan 6-foot-7-inch, 282-pound right fielder was hitting .284 with 33 homers, 70 RBI, a .364 on-base percentage and an OPS of .983. Extrapolate that out over a full season and it’s easy to see that this is someone who could approach 60 dingers and 130 RBIs in 2022, MVP-like numbers both.

But he’s also proven valuable in the field as well. Though he’s never won a Gold Glove, he did receive his first first career Fielding Bible Award in 2021. And his ability to slide over from his regular post of right field to center and play it competently has enabled the Bombers sit down slumping options Joey Gallo and Aaron Hicks and field a more offense-oriented outfield.

Judge’s stellar year couldn’t have come at a better time. A free agent after this season, he turned down a seven-year, $213.5 million contract before Opening Day. So using the Angels’ Mike Trout’s 12-year, $426 million deal as a benchmark, it’s a safe bet that Judge will be looking to be compensated in that neighborhood. The only question is, will any team be willing to pay a 30-year-old outfielder with a history of injuries that kind of money over the next decade?

Judge and the Yankees can be seen in action Saturday, Aug. 13, when they continue a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in a regional contest airing on Fox.

Full name: Aaron James Judge

Birth date: April 26, 1992

Birthplace: Linden, Calif.

Height/weight: 6 feet, 7 inches/282 pounds

Teams: New York Yankees (2016-present)

Position: Right fielder

Bats/throws: Right/right

No.: 99

Honors and achievements: Four-time All-Star; 2017 Rookie of the Year; Silver Slugger Award (2017, 2021); American League home run leader (2017); record holder for most walks (127) in a rookie campaign; his 52 homers in ’17 an AL rookie record

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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