Akshita Patel

EXPLAINED: Are The Yankees Overly Dependent On Captain Aaron Judge? Let’s Look At A Statistical Breakdown

Aaron Judge, before the commencement of the 2023 MLB season, took over the captaincy of the New York Yankees. He was handed the team’s charge for the next nine years, starting from 2023. However, the inaugural year has been rocky at best. The captain suffered from a grave toe injury, which kept him out for two months.

What’s worse is that during the two-month-long absence, the Yankees witnessed one of the darkest times in the history of the franchise. The playoff odds fell from 80% to below 5% before eventually slipping below 1%. The timing of the team’s collapse directly correlated with Judge’s absence. So the question is, are the Yanks too dependent on their captain?


Yankees’ Weighted Batting Average Recorded A Dip After Aaron Judge’s Injury

Everson Pereira, Jasson Domínguez, and Aaron Judge celebrate after the Yankees win. via Twitter NYY

Undoubtedly, Aaron Judge is the key that holds the New York Yankees together. But there has to be a line where the teammates are not overly reliant on him. This season, the line has been absolutely blurred. As per Fangraphs’ analysis, when Judge featured in the starting lineup this season, the Bombers weighted batting average (wOBA) stood at .307. The same average dropped to .291 when the captain was battling a grievous toe injury. Considering his team’s dire state, the slugger risked his health and returned on July 28 with an unhealed toe. A compromised Judge still performed way better than any of his solid, active teammates. He outperformed his peers’ WOBA by 87 points post-injury.

So, the bottom line is that the Yankees are overly dependent on their captain, at least offensively. This certainly needs to change if the team wishes to ensure success in the future. For starters, the non-performing veterans should be ousted, as the youth prospects have done a far better job in a limited sample size. They are indeed the future, and with proper training and exposure, the rookies possess the ability to become full-fledged major leaguers in no time. Secondly, Judge needs to prioritize his health and make sure to stay available for the entire stretch of 162 games. Moreover, as a captain, the slugger should intervene in front-office decisions to an extent. At the end of the day, it is his team, and he must have the luxury to pick his players.

Aaron Judge Continues To Outshine His Teammates!

Aaron Judge
Aaron Judge in the on-deck circle at Minute Maid Park. via Twitter NYY

Meanwhile, Aaron Judge is playing his own league even with a half-healed toe. While his Yankee teammates’ shortcomings are exposed, the captain has taken matters into his own hands to give fans a reason to smile and support. Recently, Judge slammed his 30th homer of the season, which also happened to be the 250th of his seven-year-long career. Also, the captain became the fastest player to unlock the major feat.

Having said that, all this was not enough to aid the Yankees’ playoff push. Despite winning seven of the last nine games and three back-to-back series, the team remains seated at the bottom of the Al-East, seven games below the wildcard spot. With a mere 22 games left on the schedule, the playoff ship has sailed for the 27-time World Series champions.