As many sports fans with a pulse probably already know, Aaron Judge is the biggest name in baseball right now, literally. The impressive 6’7″ outfielder not only towers above most other players, he is also outshining almost all of them. As you’re reading this right now, Judge leads the majors in homers (26) and the American League in batting average (.330) as well as all-star voting with around 1.25 million votes. Earlier in the season, many experts were calling this a fluke, saying he was a young, strong ballplayer who merely got hot right out of the gate. Subsequently, I assume many of them wished they had just bitten their tongues as the rookie sensation is leading in two out of three Triple Crown categories and is making serious bids for MVP and Rookie of the Year. Early on, he’s proven that he can be a leader that this team can depend on regularly, not only to hit home runs, but to consistently play at a high level. Additionally, he’s shown the willingness to take on the role of being the “face of the franchise”, as many have been coining it lately. Of course, from a baseball standpoint, he could easily slow down as the season goes on. However, as someone who’s been watching baseball their whole life, I just don’t see it happening, and it’s because of one reason, for the most part. That reason being that because of his work ethic, dedication, and skill, he closely reminds of someone that most baseball fans (including myself) probably miss: Derek Jeter. That’s right I said it. Although, I’m not going to go as far as to say that he is the second coming of ‘The Captain’, but, then again that is exactly what I’m proposing.
If you just think about it for a minute, it really does make sense (and makes me sound less dramatic). Both Jeter and Judge were first round selections in the MLB draft who made stupendous improvements in their fundamentals during their time in the minors. Granted, Jeter did come straight out of high school, where as Judge opted to go to Fresno State for 3 seasons, where he was an All Conference selection every year. However, once they both put on their pinstripes for the first time, they struggled to acclimate to the MLB game and each would have to wait till the next season to truly showcase just how much they can contribute. As you’d have it, Jeter and Judge would both be starting rookies for the Yankees and as you already know, both would go on to immediately impress in their rookie seasons. Jeter’s rookie campaign ended with the first World Series victory for New York since 1978 as well as Rookie of the Year honors. He would go on to have an impeccable 20 year career in which he’d collect 4 additional rings, 5 Gold Gloves, 5 Silver Sluggers, 2 Hank Aaron awards, 1 World Series MVP, all while appearing in 14 all star games, and in the end deservedly getting his number retired. As for Judge, he’s currently on his way to hopefully leading the first place New Look Yankees to their first postseason bid since 2012. I believe that he’s already set himself up for a similar, and possibly even better, path to greatness, but hey, sit back, watch, and you be the judge.