Yankees Profile: Aaron Judge

Friday, October 13, 2017 01:21PM
Aaron Judge leaves the batters box after connecting for a 435-foot home run against the Tampa Bay Rays Wednesday, April 12, 2017, in New York. (Julie Jacobson)
Aaron Judge hits a 435 foot home run against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday, May 3, 2017, at Yankee Stadium in New York. (Bill Kostroun)
Aaron Judge reacts as he runs the bases after hitting 451 foot home run against the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, in New York. (Seth Wenig)
New York Yankees' Aaron Judge rounds second past after hitting a 460 foot home run off in Pittsburgh, Saturday, April 22, 2017. (Gene J. Puskar)
Yankees' Aaron Judge hits a 457 foot home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros, Sunday, May 14, 2017, in New York. (Seth Wenig)
Aaron Judge gestures as he runs the bases after hitting a 435 foot home run against the Baltimore Orioles Saturday, April 29, 2017, in New York. (Frank Franklin II)
Aaron Judge watches his seventh-inning, 495 foot home run in a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles in New York, Sunday, June 11, 2017. (Kathy Willens)
BRONX, New York - Aaron Judge hit a home run in his first major league at-bat.

Aaron Judge then hit his second home run in his second game as a pro.

Aaron Judge seemed poised to be the next great Yankee, but his road to stardom hit a couple of speed bumps. After those first two games last year, the 6-foot-7 outfielder struggled mightily. He hit .179 for the season and struck out 42 times in 84 at bats. Even the most optimistic Yankee fan would not have expected Judge to come back and have the season he just had. But those who know Judge's backstory, know that he has always found success.

Judge was adopted one day after he was born, once telling the New York Post that he believes God brought him and his adopted parents together. He grew up in California and was a three sport-star in high school. When it was time to go to college, powerhouse football programs like Notre Dame, Stanford and UCLA all recruited Judge to play tight end. But Judge's passion was on the baseball field and he spurned the big-name football schools for Fresno State. After winning the college home run derby and leading the Fresno State Bulldogs in virtually all offensive categories, Judge was drafted by the Yankees.

Fast forward four years, five minor league stops and one season-ending injury, Judge was back in The Bronx to start his record-breaking 2017 season. In his first four games, Judge only had 2 hits and 5 strikeouts in 15 at-bats. But what happened over the next 158 games rewrote the history books:

Most Home Runs in a Rookie Season: 52

First Rookie in MLB History with at least 45 Home Runs, 100 RBIs and 100 Runs Scored

First Rookie to win the All-Star Game Home Run Derby

Yankee Record for Most Home Runs in a Season at Home: 33

All impressive numbers, but it is last year's dismal .179 batting average that is engrained in Judge's mind. He keeps a note on his phone with that stat to stay motivated and not take any of his success for granted.
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