Name: Aaron Judge
Handedness: Bats and throws right-handed
Draft: 2013, 1st round, 32nd pick out of Fresno State
Best Tool: Power, Arm
BBDP Rank: 18
The Yankees snuck away with three excellent first round draft picks this year. Aaron Judge is the only of the three who didn’t play a single inning this season. He also has more potential than any other pick the Yankees made this year in the draft. It was a difficult path for Judge and the Yankees this year, as he didn’t sign right up until the deadline. When he finally did sign, he had a nagging injury that held him out of the lineup for the entire season.
Despite the tumultuous first season, Judge is still drawing comparisons to players like Giancarlo Stanton. At 6-foot-7 those comparisons were bound to surface. He is physically massive and has a cannon for an arm. He has also shown that he can hit for power in college. Overall he is a high risk, high reward type of player who could end up being one of the best the Yankees’ system has to offer.
Judge had a prolific college career after being drafted and going unsigned in the 32nd round by the Oakland A’s out of high school. As a freshman, Judge hit .358 with a .433 OBP. He had 2 HR, 12 doubles, and one triple. He went through a bit of a sophomore slump, hitting .308/.441 with four homeruns, 14 doubles, and two triples. His junior year he had a breakout season. He hit .373 with a .460 OBP, 12 HR, 15 doubles, and four triples. That was good for a .663 slugging percentage and a 1.123 OPS. These are college numbers so don’t expect them to translate 100%, but it’s safe to say he put up video game numbers in 2013.
Physically, Judge is one of the finest specimens the entire draft had to offer. He also has unmatched raw power. At his size he is most likely going to struggle with contact. He has a large strike zone and it takes him a bit longer to get to the ball than others. That said, for his size he has quick hands.
His power is about as good as it gets in this draft. His batting practice produces majestic bombs left and right. He won the homerun derby in college.
He is a relatively fast runner, although he probably profiles best in RF long term. His range is solid but not great, and he has plus arm strength. His speed is above average and will allow him to steal some bases but he’s no Brett Gardner.
The main question with Judge will be whether he can hit for a good average to supplement his power, and whether the power will show up in games or not. If so, he could be a beast.
The ceiling is Giancarlo Stanton, nuff said. The floor is a low average, high strikeout, power hitter. He has a vast ceiling for the Yankees, and they were lucky to gobble up a guy with that type of ceiling where they got him in the draft.
Judge will likely start out in Charleston. There is speculation by some that he will start in Staten Island because he didn’t play there last year, but I consider that doubtful given his age and his talent level. From there his talent could make him a fast mover. If he does what he should in Charleston he will move up to Tampa right quick. From there it’s anyone’s guess. He could be in the majors as soon as 2016 but could take as long as 4-5 years to reach that point. At this point 2016-2018 would be the ETA.
Judge has a lot of people excited for 2014, including myself. Depending on who the Yankees choose to send to Charleston, it could be packed with possible future stars. Personally, I will be watching closely to see if Judge could be that type of player.