Aaron Judge: Yankees MVP And Team Leader

Aaron Judge - Face of the New York Yankees (Photo: CBS Sports)

Aaron Judge is not only the Yankees MVP of 2021 but he has earned a spot in the Top Five for the American League MVP voting.

Aaron Judge has not been a passerby while the Yankees struggled to find consistency in their offense this year.

Instead, Judge has put together a string of team-leading numbers the Yankees haven’t seen since his rookie season in 2016 when he finished 2nd in the AL MVP voting and was named AL the Rookie Of The Year.

Injury-free for the first time since then, Aaron Judge has appeared in 112 games (and counting) in the outfield for the Yankees, allowing Yankees manager Aaron Boone to use another player in the DH spot for all but 20 games when Judge took the DH role.

Consider this:  Judge leads the Yankees in Batting Average (.284), RBI (85), Runs Created (100.13), On-Base Percentage (.369), Slugging (.531), and OPS (.900 – a mark almost 200 points over the league average). Additionally, he ranks second in home runs and doubles.

A five-tool player, Aaron Judge has excelled in the field, handling 231 chances while making only three errors. In addition, he ranks sixth in the major leagues with ten assists, two of which resulted in double plays.

Those are the impressive numbers but there are also the intangibles that Aaron Judge brings to the Yankees.

Quietly but efficiently, Judge has accepted the role as the Yankees team leader, joining forces with Brett Gardner and Gerrit Cole to provide Aaron Boone with security in knowing his clubhouse is in good hands.

With the expected retirement of Gardner after this season, it’s almost a given the Yankees will name Aaron Judge as Team Captain, a post held vacant since the retirement of Derek Jeter in 2014.

However, D-Day Is On The Way

Aaron Judge: Yankees All-Star
Aaron Judge: Yankees All-Star

As with all players, the future is up for grabs, and short of the Yankees offering him a contract extension, Judge will become a member of the Class of 2023 Free Agent outfielders.

By then, Judge will be 31 and the Yankees will face a difficult decision as to the number of years they offer him in a new contract, especially after their experience this year with a disappointing DJ LeMahieu, who will be 37 when his current contract expires.

But for this year, Aaron Judge has done it all for the Yankees – and most appropriately, he answers the question, where would the team be without him?

Next: Gerrit Cole – Cy Young Contender And Role Model


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