Joe Girardi compares Yanks rookie Aaron Judge to Derek Jeter

ByAndrew Marchand ESPN logo
Tuesday, May 2, 2017

NEW YORK -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi has ratcheted up the hype on rookie sensation Aaron Judge by comparing him to one of the most revered players in franchise history:Derek Jeter.

"He is a little bit like Derek for me," Girardi said of the 6-foot-7, 282-pound Judge. "He has a smile all the time. He loves to play the game. You always think he is going to do the right thing on the field and off the field. He has a presence about him. He plays the game to win all the time, and that is the most important thing. It is not about what you did that day.

"I understand that is a big comparison, but I remember Derek when he was young. He grew into that leadership role, but that was Derek. Derek loved to have fun, loved to laugh and loved to play the game."

Judge, 25, entered Monday night's action tied for the American League lead in homers with 10, making him the early favorite for Rookie of the Year.

"There is only one Derek Jeter, " Judge said. "It is a great compliment. I'm honored to be in the same sentence. I'm trying to be the best Aaron Judge I can be."

By the age of 25, Jeter was already in his fourth full season in the big leagues and was on the verge of adding his third of five championship rings.

Girardi was teammates with Jeter in 1996 when Jeter was Rookie of the Year and helped the Yankees win the World Series.

"I see him doing things the right way on the field and off the field," Girardi said. "That is the way Derek was, as well, when he was young."

On Mother's Day, May 14, Jeter will have his No. 2 retired by the Yankees. Jeter is in the process of trying to buy the Miami Marlins with an ownership group that includes Jeb Bush.