Will Aaron Judge Hit 50 HRs Again in 2018?
He was a runaway winner of the American League Rookie of the Year, but can Aaron Judge possibly duplicate his magical season?
The New York Yankees right fielder became a bona fide sensation in 2017, clubbing a rookie record 52 home runs. Following in the giant footsteps of the likes of Ruth, Mantle and Jeter that his six-foot-seven frame can fill, he's poised to become the latest in a long line of New York Yankees icons.
In a season in which the number of home runs rose like a chest-high fastball (Major League Baseball set a record for most homers in a season), Judge stood head and shoulders above the rest, leading the majors in round-trippers.
But is he due to regress to the mean? It's hard to sustain this kind of level of production. Heck, Hank Aaron never hit 50 home runs in a season, Babe Ruth had back-to-back campaigns of 50 or more home only twice over a 21-year career and Barry Bonds only hit 50 once (although, to be fair, he was often intentionally walked, likely dragging his numbers down).
Judge strikes out a lot, pitchers may become familiar with him and you have to wonder if the ball will be changed amidst claims it's juiced? All could play a part in his diminishing productivity. Then again, he's physically gifted, exercises extreme patience, has learned to adjust his approach and plays in a lineup that makes it hard to pitch around him.
So, tell us, will he hit 50 home runs again in 2018?