By Steve Svetovich
Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders outfielder Aaron Judge is one of several players who parent club’s general manager Brian Cashman does not show interest in trading.
Youth is becoming the name of the game for the New York Yankees, and at six foot seven inches tall, 275-pound Judge is a big part of it. At age 23, he is quickly moving up the ladder and continues to show progress in his game.
A 3-for-3 game in which he singled, doubled and homered Saturday, Aug. 22 in a 11-5 win over Rochester lifted his batting average to .251. He has eight homers, 16 doubles, 26 RBIs, 23 walks and six stolen bases in 45 games and 171 at bats for the RailRiders. He hit a go-ahead homer in a 2-1 win over Lehigh Valley the previous Wednesday. He also had his first 4-hit game for the RailRiders of the Class AAA International League recently.
And all this after hitting .284 with 12 homers, 16 doubles and 44 RBIs in 63 games for the Trenton Thunder in the Class AA Eastern League earlier this year. He also had a .350 on base percentage and .516 slugging percentage for Trenton. He was promoted to the RailRiders in June.
Judge leads all Yankees minor leaguers with 20 homers at press time. He has 70 RBIs and 32 doubles in 108 minor league games this season at press time.
Born April 26, 1992 in Linden, California, he was adopted at one-day old by Wayne and Patty Judge, both teachers. Judge was a three-sport star athlete at Linden High School. He was recruited to play football, but chose baseball.
The towering right handed hitter was selected in the 31st round of the 2010 MLB draft, but decided to enroll at Fresno State. He played baseball three years for the Bulldogs in the Mountain West Conference. Louisville Slugger named him Freshman All-American . He was also the winner of the 2012 TD America Home Run Derby. Judge led the Bulldogs in homers, doubles and RBIs and was named All-Mountain West Conference in all three years playing for the Bulldogs.
The Yankees drafted Judge in the first round and 72nd overall in the 2013 MLB draft. He signed with the Yankees for a $1.8 million signing bonus. But soon after, Judge got a tough break. He tore his quadriceps femoris muscle while participating in a base running drill and missed the entire 2013 season.
He came back strong and made his professional debut with the Charleston RiverDogs in the Class A South Atlantic League in 2014. He hit .333 with a .428 on base percentage, .530 slugging percentage, nine homers and 45 RBIs in 65 games. He was then promoted to the Tampa Yankees in the Class A Advanced Florida State League where he hit .283, with a .411 on base percentage, eight homers and 33 RBIs in 66 games.
He began this season with the Trenton Thunder in the Class AA Eastern League. He was chosen to represent the Yankees in the 2015 All-Star Futures Game, and then came the promotion to the RailRiders three months ago.
The sprawling outfielder could be the New York Yankees starting right fielder in 2017. Current Yankees starting right fielder Carlos Beltran, with 385 career home runs, a fabulous career and hitting .271 this season, has one year left on his current contract and is 38.
So don’t be surprised to see Aaron Judge roaming around in right field in 2017 on the hallowed grounds of Yankee Stadium. That is as long as the current progress continues and Cashman continues to value him.
Aaron Judge. Remember the name.