At 6-7 and 275 pounds, right fielder Aaron Judge has the power to match his imposing figure. A fast-rising prospect, Judge has impressed at every level he’s played in.
Now, as the Yankees continue to rebuild around young talent, Judge is set to be on the front lines, leading the charge that management hopes will yield results for years to come.
The Linden, California native was drafted 32nd in 2013 by the Yankees after his junior year at Fresno State. Judge, 24, made his pro debut a year later with Single-A Charleston and reached the Advanced Single-A level by the end of the year.
The righty’s potential was evident in 2015 as he breezed through Double-A Trenton en route to Triple-A Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Judge began the year in Triple-A and hit .270 with 19 homers and 65 RBIs in 93 games before his August call-up to the Yankees. He made a big impression by homering in his first major league at-bat on August 13 against the Rays at Yankee Stadium, and he swatted another one the next day.
But growing pains were evident. Judge hit just .179 in 27 games with the Yankees before suffering a strained oblique to end his season. Plus, half of his 84 at-bats ended in a strikeout.
Now healthy and ready to play, Judge is slated to be the Bombers’ Opening Day starter in right field. Whether he turns out to be as successful as last season’s rookie phenom in pinstripes, catcher Gary Sanchez, remains to be seen. However, he possesses the hitting ability and power to cement himself as a regular in the big leagues.