Yankees rookie earns distinction for 1st time in career
By David Adler
Aaron Judge's week ended with him taking over the American League lead in all three Triple Crown categories on Sunday, so naturally the Yankees' rookie sensation took home AL Player of the Week honors Monday.
Judge leads the AL with a .344 batting average, 21 home runs and 47 RBIs. He also leads the AL in runs scored, with 54; walks, with 38; and total bases, with 150. Judge's 21 homers are tops in the Major Leagues, too.
And they're no ordinary long balls. Every Judge at-bat has become a must-watch because of what he can do at the plate.
Over the weekend, Judge shattered his own Statcast-era record for hardest-hit home run, driving a 121.1 mph missile. Less than 24 hours later, he unleashed a monstrous 495-foot shot that went clear over the Yankee Stadium bleachers in left field. That home run was the longest of the 2017 season and tied for second longest since Statcast™ started tracking in 2015.
"I think our guys realize it's special watching his power. This is not something you see every day," manager Joe Girardi said Sunday. "How can you not get excited over the home run he hit?"
During the week, Judge hit .500/.600/1.000, going 12-for-24 with three homers, six RBIs, six walks and 10 runs scored to help the Yanks win five of six from two of their AL East rivals in the Red Sox and Orioles, and maintain their lead atop the division. The 6-foot-7 right fielder had four multihit games and capped his week by going 7-for-8, with all three homers and all six RBIs against the O's on Saturday and Sunday.
Judge's .500 average, .600 on-base percentage, 1.000 slugging and 1.600 OPS all led the AL for the week, as did his 10 runs, while his 12 hits were tied for the most in the AL. His three homers were one off the league lead for the week, as were his six walks.
This is the first career Player of the Week award for Judge. The 25-year-old has already been named the AL's Rookie of the Month for both April and May, and he was the AL's leading All-Star vote-getter at the last balloting update.
"If the MVP were voted on today," Yankees teammate Brett Gardner said after Sunday's game, "he'd win that, too."
David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.