Aaron Judge, the New York Yankees outfielder, has huge expectations on his shoulder to replicate the record-breaking 2022 season.
The Yankees’ brand new captain, Aaron Judge, ruled the baseball world last year with astonishing all-time high numbers. He got the record of hitting the most number of home runs in a single MLB season under his belt. Further, during free agency, he signed a massive nine-year contract with the Yankees for a salary of $360 million. The Yankees added another feather to Judge’s cap by naming him the 16th captain of the franchise.
As a result, this year, Aaron Judge is striving hard to get the Yankees to the World Series title. Coming from a record-breaking season, expectations are unrealistically high from Judge. Fans expect him to replicate the 2022 season. However, such exceptional seasons just come once in an athlete’s life. Apparently, neither fans nor Aaron himself is ruling out the possibilities. Hence, the slugger has started taking baby steps toward the ultimate goal.
Aaron Judge Working On To Reduce His Strikeout Count
Professional baseball players always look for ways to improve their game and stay ahead of the competition. For Aaron Judge, this season means now or never, as expectations are sky-high. Hence, he is trying out different techniques to overcome his weaknesses on the plate. The one drawback majorly highlighted in the slugger’s career is his strikeout count. In 2022, he struck out 175 times in 696 plate appearances, which was the highest strikeout rate of his career. Hence, this year, the slugger is working hard to reduce those numbers.
For the first time in Judge’s major league career, he is experimenting with a heel tap in two-strike counts to reduce his strikeout rate and protect himself at the plate. The heel tap is a technique that some hitters use to help time the pitcher’s delivery and get into a more comfortable hitting position. The goal is to help Aaron Judge get into a better hitting position and make more contact, especially when he is in two-strike counts. Judge is testing out the heel tap in spring training games and has had some success with it so far. He recently hit a home run against the Pirates while using the technique, which is a promising sign.
Judge Experimenting At Left and Center Field In Spring Training
Meanwhile, the offense is the least of Aaron Judge’s problems this season. The New York Yankees outfield is in shambles post injuries and lack of bullpen depth. Last season, Aaron played center field before Harrison Bader arrived via trade. However, this year, Bader has been ruled out for six weeks due to an oblique injury. Hence, Judge will once again have to move to the center to fill in for Bader.
Aaron Judge was also doing some experiments on the left field this spring training to end the team’s woes. The Yankees have a major hole in the left after Benintendi’s departure. They are presently looking at Aaron Hicks as a potential candidate, but it’s not a promising long-term solution. Hence, Judge, the captain, is ready to jump ships on the left if it helps the team later in the tournament.