Aaron Judge is on a hot streak. The New York Yankees outfielder smacked his 20th and 21st home runs of the season in the weekend series against the Boston Red Sox to become the fifth member of the Bronx Bombers with at least 20 home runs this season. The Yankees set the MLB home run record last season with 267 home runs, and just one week into September, the Yanks eclipsed last year’s mark with their 268th home run of the season.
“It’s amazing,” said All-Star short stop Gleyber Torres. “I didn’t know we broke the record again. All of the guys hit pretty well. We’ve got the same plan, to attack early, and when we hit homers we’re great.”
The Yankees currently trail the long-ball heavy Minnesota Twins, who lead the majors with 276 home runs. If the Twins stay ahead of the Yankees in the homer department, the 2019 Twins will set the new MLB record for most home runs in a season.
The new franchise record is astounding considering how many members of the Yankees spent time on the IL for various ailments. Giancarlo Stanton, one of the biggest bats in the lineup, played in only 8 games this season before being sidelined. Judge missed nearly 40 games with an oblique injury.
The 20 Plus Club
Overall, 13 members of the Yankees hit at least double-digit home runs through 144 games. Five players smacked 20 or more, including Torres, Gary Sanchez, DJ LeMahieu, Brett Gardner, and Judge.
Gardner is the biggest surprise. One of the longest tenured Yankees, he was supposed to play a bench role this season, but manager Aaron Boone quickly called him into action following early season injuries to Aaron Hicks and Stanton.
MVP candidate DJ LeMahieu leads the AL in batting average, hitting .328. He’s also driven in 90 runs, primarily from the lead off position.
NY Yankees radio announcer John Sterling often refers to Gary Sanchez as “Scary Sanchez” due to his moonshots. Sanchez is also known as the “Kraken” for his ability to destroy opposing pitching. The catcher leads the Yankees with 35 home runs.
NY Yankees Home Run Leaders
Gary Sanchez 35
Gleyber Torres 34
DJ LeMahieu 24
Brett Gardner 21
Aaron Judge 21
Edwin Encarnacion smacked 21 home runs with the Seattle Mariners before they traded him to the NY Yankees. With the Yanks, Encarnacion slugged 11 home runs in 41 games. The Parrot Man hit 32 total homers this season.
The list should add at least two more names with 18 games remaining. First baseman Luke Voit is sitting on 19 home runs, and 3B Gio Urshela hit 18 long balls in only 115 games.
Judge Heating Up
After a low-key summer, Judge finally looks like his old self with several towering home runs over the last couple of weeks. Judge finally reached 20 home runs after missing a huge chunk of time at the beginning of the summer after an oblique injury.
The big right fielder hit 8 home runs in August, including 6 homers in his last 8 games of the month. Against the LA Dodgers in Dodger Stadium, Judge crushed three dingers. He went 8 for 13 overall against one of the best pitching staffs in the league, including a home run in three consecutive games.
“I still think he’s going to continue to swing it even better and get into a better place,” said manager Boone. “Especially as these games get more important.”
Judge won the AL Rookie of the Year two seasons ago when he crushed 52 home runs in his first full season in the big leagues. Last season, Judge hit only 27 home runs because he missed almost two months due to a fractured his wrist from a HBP.
AARON JUDGE STATS
2017: 52 HR, 114 RBI, .284 AVG, 155 Games
2018: 27 HR, 67 RBI, .278 AVG, 112 Games
2019: 21 HR, 47 RBI, .269 AVG, 87 Games
Before the season began, both Judge and Stanton seemed poised to hit 40 homers each. At this juncture, Sanchez and Torres are the best chance at the Yankees having a pair of 40-plus home run sluggers this season.