Prospects Austin, Judge go deep in debuts at Yankee Stadium
By Nick Suss
NEW YORK -- Yankees prospects Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge didn't wait long to prove they belong in the Majors.
Austin and Judge made their debuts in stunning fashion during Saturday's 8-4 win at Yankee Stadium, hammering back-to-back home runs in their first at-bats in the second inning of the game against the Rays to give New York a 2-0 lead. Austin and Judge are the first teammates to hit home runs in their first Major League at-bats in the same game. The feat was accomplished once before by opponents -- the Dodgers' Ernie Koy and the Phillies' Heinie Mueller -- on April 19, 1938.
They are also the first teammates to homer in their debuts in the same game and became the fourth and fifth players in Yankees history to hit home runs in their first career at-bat or plate appearance, joining John Miller, Andy Phillips and Yankees assistant hitting coach Marcus Thames. Austin and Judge both finished 2-for-4.
Judge did a little more than just make contact. Unlike Austin, who barely squeaked his shot over the short porch in right field for a Statcast™-projected 331-foot homer, Judge launched a projected 446-foot blast into center field, tying the Yankees record for longest home run at home in the Statcast™ era.
"It was exciting," Judge said. "Tyler went out there and he got down 0-2 really quick, but he battled and had a great at-bat and was able to hit one out. I was ecstatic on deck and I was like, 'I've just got to make contact now.' What a day. That's all I can really say."
With the homer, Judge became just the third player to hit the ball off or over the glass panels above Monument Park, joining Russell Branyan in 2009 and Carlos Correa earlier this season.
"There's not so many things you can say after something like that," Austin said of Judge's monstrous shot. "That thing was hit a ton. I was just really excited for him. It's not every day that you get to do something like that."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi was equally impressed with Judge's power. Girardi said that, on video, he saw Judge hit a similar home run two days ago. But it wasn't just Judge's home run that got Girardi optimistic for the future. It was his, and Austin's, whole day.
"[The Judge home run] gets you excited," Girardi said. "But you also look at the athleticism. The play he makes going back, the play he makes going forward, how he stayed on balls today. I think about Tyler's first at-bat where he gets down in the count two strikes and battles and battles and hits a home run. But besides the hit, I thought they were really good at-bats. And that's probably more important."
Nick Suss is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.