Big Ben’s Home Run Derby Special: Aaron Judge Wins, Barely Breaking a Sweat

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MIAMI BEACH, FL – It’s everyone’s favorite sports hiatus, the MLB All-Star Break. I made a point to watch the Home Run Derby this year to see Aaron Judge in action. And, Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, he did not disappoint.

Aaron Judge hitting despite Ben Whitney's nose up his butt. MeetTheMatts.com #MeetTheMatts

Domination… Despite my nose in his a$$!

In other news…

I learned how to embed Tweets. I now can totally let Twitter do the heavy lifting for me. Hey Management, do words in a Tweet count as words in a column? Asking for a friend.

The Derby

The only time Judge had to really break a sweat was in the first round. Justin Bour of the Marlins hit 22, which would end up being the second best round of the night. But the Judge easily hit 23 to move into the next round.

I don’t think it mattered, but going second is quite an advantage in this format. They can pace themselves knowing how many they need to hit.

Judge’s first round inspired a load of enjoyable “hold my beer” jokes on Twitter.

This guy was pumped for a minute.

The next two rounds were pretty boring. When Cody Bellinger and Miguel Sano only managed twelve and ten respectively, the outcome was never in doubt. Judge was bashing 500-footers with ease. What looked like pop-ups to the first baseman ended up clearing the right field fence. The announcers were pining for him to be able to finish the rounds (he finished off Bellinger and Sano with plenty of time left on of the clock) to see how many he could hit. 35 seemed doable.

This guy is so humble and likable that I’ll bet that even Yankee-hating loon Short Matt was rooting for him. He’s a rookie and all, but there is something Jeterish about him, right? And not just his painfully boring post game interview answers. Man, how many times can a guy say “awesome” and thank the fans in one interview. It’s the way he carries himself.

Judge has come a long way in one year. In his brief time in the majors last year, he hit .179 and struck out in about 40 percent of his at bats. This year he’s smashing the Yankee rookie home run record held by some guy named Joe DiMaggio in the first half. He could take the rest of the season off and still win Rookie of the Year. I heard him called “the face of Major League Baseball right now” on ESPN. Sorry Mike, Clayton, Bryce.

Is Judge Getting a Little Lucky, Though?

The second half will be exciting but there are some naysayers out there and they have math on their side. Judge is on pace to strike out more than 200 times. No player in baseball history who has struck out over 200 times in a season has ever hit more than .262. Aaron Judge is currently hitting .329.

Photo Caption Contest

Chris Davis struck out 219 times in 2015, but still managed to hit .262. With apologies to the easily-confused Short Matt, his BABIP was .319 that year. BABIP measures batting average on balls hit in play on non home runs. Generally, a big deviation in BABIP indicates the player is getting unusually lucky or unlucky, and a reversion to the mean can be expected.

Judge’s highest BABIP in triple A was .319 in 2016. His BABIP in the first half was .426. I’m a big Judge fan and I’m excited to see what this guy can do, but expect a hard reversion to the mean in the second half, at least in batting average.

Anyway, this guy looks like he’s going to be a treat to watch. Speaking of treats, come back tomorrow for Angry Ward. Follow us on Twitter at @benwhit, @MeetTheMatts, @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.

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About the Author ()

Ben Whitney comes from journalistic stock. Aside from his brothers, rumor has that his great-great grandfather was the youngest brother of Eli Whitney and covered the earliest "rounders" games. Big Ben is also another New York Rugby Club player/pal of Different Matt, Short Matt and Junoir Blaber. He likes film noir discussions, has twin girls and took up ice hockey after retiring from rugby.

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