A ranking of Aaron Judge’s 2017 home runs

Aaron Judge is a mountain of a man, standing at 6’7″ and tipping the scales at a muscular 282 pounds. His Adonis-like physique has parlayed its way into prodigious baseball power, with 12 home runs over the first month or sJUDGE HRo of the season, good for the MLB lead. To put Judge’s sterling first month in perspective, he’s currently on pace to shatter Barry Bond’s home run record with 78 extrapolated over a full season. Over half of the fly balls he hits leave the park. The exit velocity of the ball on his fly balls and line drives sits at 102 MPH, second in the majors behind Miguel Sano.

While Aaron Judge is clearly a powerful man, perhaps baseball’s most powerful man, a 54.5% HR/FB ratio is not sustainable. He won’t break Bond’s record, and he probably won’t even hit 40 home runs this year. But let’s take some time to appreciate Judge’s prolific start to the 2017 season with a viewing and arbitrary out-of-ten ranking for each of his 12 home runs thus far:

12. May 2nd / Mat Latos / 337 feet

Let’s get this one out the way. Impressive because it was opposite field as opposite field can get, but not a home run in a majority of MLB stadiums. The lowest exit velocity of any Judge home run at 99.0 MPH, as well as by far the lowest distance at 337 feet. Probably the only cheapo home run that Judge has hit this year.   5.5 / 10 

11. April 9th / Mychal Givens / 376 feet

Be forewarned: home runs against the Orioles are going to become a consistent trend on this list! Showing off his impressive strength, Judge golfs an 86 MPH Mychal Givens slider off the end of his bat into the left field bleachers at Camden. For extra bonus points, a Yankee fan managed to catch the ball in that awful sea of orange!  6.0 / 10

10. April 17th / Derek Holland / 385 feet

A fairly pedestrian left field home run for Judge, one that Yankee Stadium will see a lot of for years to come. Pretty good sound off the bat and solid triple digit velocity propelled this one into the visitor bullpen. Maybe Judge was aiming for former Yankee David Robertson?   6.0 / 10

09. April 26th / Rick Porcello / 385 feet

This home run holds a special place in my heart because it’s the first and only time I’ve seen Judge hit a home run in person. Aaron took an inner half two seamer from Porcello, inside-outed it the tune of 109.7 MPH, and snuck it into the Red Sox bullpen on a cold and damp night in Fenway. There might be only one or two other hitters in the game who could do the same thing with that pitch in those conditions. Damn.   6.5 / 10

08. April 28th / Kevin Gausman / 417 feet

The first of two home runs for Judge in the April 28th matchup off Gausman, he lasers a a 96 MPH fastball into the Orioles bullpen. The Baltimore relief pitchers didn’t have enough time to run for cover. This was also the start to an epic comeback win, in which the Yankees returned from 5-0 down to defeat the Orioles 14-11 in extra innings.  6.5 / 10 

07. April 10th / Alex Cobb / 397 feet

The April 10th blast off Cobb represents Judge’s most towering homer of the 2017 season, peaking at 150 feet in the air.  This one stayed airborne long enough for air traffic control to get concerned.   7.0 / 10

06. May 2nd  / Jason Grilli / 384 feet

Basically an identical home run to the previous one, and numerically inferior on a distance, exit velocity and launch angle basis. Yet it seems sexier for some reason. Maybe because it’s at night, and there’s just something about that nightime Bronx air in the spring? I’m not sure, you be the judge (get it?).   7.5 / 10

05. April 29th / Jayson Aquino / 391 (TBD??) Feet

Statcast is a great tool, but clearly there are some kinks to be worked out, because this ball went way further than the reported 391 feet. Judge takes a Jayson Aquino fastball, clearly does not put his best swing on it, but somehow manages to muscle it a distance of at least 420 feet to deep right center. I mean honestly, wouldn’t you think it was a pop up with the way it looked off the bat? What a beast.   8.0 / 10 

04. April 28th / Kevin Gausman / 435 feet

Poor Kevin Gausman. The second home run allowed to Judge in as many innings was also the hardest hit home run of the Statcast era at 119.4 MPH. It’s likely that Judge will become of the Aroldis Chapman of Statcast, continually breaking his own records and occupying the exit velocity leaderboard by himself at the end of each season. Also, has anyone seen a ball travel 435 feet in quicker fashion than this one?   8.0 / 10

03. April 12th / Erasmo Ramirez / 437 feet

Extra points for straight away center dongs in my book. With an extremely satisfying crack off the bat, that almost sounds like he hit it twice, Judge sends an Erasmo Ramirez fastball into the netting covering Monument Park. What makes this homer even more impressive is the pitch location, with Judge taking an inside pitch off the skinny part of his bat to the deepest recesses of the ballpark.     8.5 / 10

02. April 19th / Dylan Covey / 448 feet

Judge’s second longest home run of the season was also his second tallest, reaching an apex of 122 feet. It was also his third hardest hit off the bat at 115.5 MPH. The visceral impression left by the home run is impressive, a moonshot that hung up in the Bronx in air for ages before landing in Yankee Stadium’s deep left field bleachers.     8.5 / 10

01. April 22nd / Antonio Bastardo / 457 feet

And finally, the piece de resistance, Judge’s April 22nd homer off Pirates reliever Antonio Bastardo at PNC Park. This qualified as Judge’s longest home run of the season and the second fastest at 115.6 MPH. But what really makes this dinger is the sound off the bat. Reminiscent of the sound of someone loudly snapping their fingers in your ear, or perhaps the perfect neck crack, the bat on ball contact for this home run is music to any baseball fan’s ears.   9.0 / 10

3 comments

  1. alena gerli · · Reply

    can I share it on my Facebook? I think all of you behind this should share it on all possible media to increase circulation. You should be proud to show of your incredibly creative writing skills.

    Like

  2. In a vacuum, Judge’s blast off Grilli wasn’t the best, but that at-bat was a helluva battle: 10 pitch at-bat, started down 0-2. He probably would have struck out last year in that at-bat, but he grinded, and made Grilli pay.

    Like

  3. I guess so, but I think it would be difficult to hit a home run while in a vacuum.

    Like

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