Every time New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge crushes another home run, his decision to bet on himself looks even smarter. The impending free agent is leading all of baseball in homers (22), slugging percentage (.671) and on-base plus slugging (1.054) through Thursday’s games, all of which will make him highly prized in the offseason.
Judge’s team also holds a 41-16 record, the best in Major League Baseball. The Yankees are now 7-1 in June following a 10-7 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday in which Judge scored the winning run.
Tony the Tie-Breaker. pic.twitter.com/ZleH7PVtLZ
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) June 10, 2022
Judge is hitting a career-high .310 and is on pace to set new personal bests in just about every major statistical category. He and the team had discussions about a contract extension during the offseason but couldn’t reach an agreement before the season began. The 30-year-old then chose to pause negotiations so he could keep his focus on his play on the field.
“I’d be completely honored to wear pinstripes for a couple more years,” Judge told the New York Post in February. “But if it doesn’t happen and this is my last year [as a Yankee], I had a lot of great memories.”
This is your regularly scheduled Aaron Judge home run tweet ⏰
No. 22 on the year for 99!
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) June 7, 2022
While Judge already had plenty of leverage when it came to his next contract, putting together an MVP-caliber season is only going to further increase his value on the open market. For now, though, he is finding peace in his faith. He knows it’s God who is in control of his future.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s the last year or the first year, I’m gonna go out there and play my best and do what I need to do for this city and what I need to do for the team,” Judge told the New York Post. “It’s all in God’s hands.
“It’s gonna work out the way it’s supposed to. That’s why I’ve got agents. I’ve got people taking care of that. I’m not even worried.”
Judge has discussed his faith throughout his rise to stardom, which saw him burst onto the scene with a 52-home run, 114-RBI campaign in 2017, his first full season in the majors. The first word his Twitter followers and Instagram followers see in his bio is “Christian.” His Twitter banner also includes the Bible verse 2 Corinthians 5:7: “For we live by faith, not by sight.”
In 2019, Judge returned to Fresno State, where he played for three seasons, and discussed what the verse meant to him during an appearance in the commentary booth at a Fresno State football game.
“It’s one of my favorite Bible verses,” Judge said at the time. “I try to live my life by it, and always trust the Man Above and what He’s got in store for us. We never know what’s around the corner, but if we have faith in Him, He will lead us in the right direction.”
Judge will seek to continue to live by faith and trust God’s guidance despite his uncertain baseball future.
— Aaron Judge (@TheJudge44) July 31, 2014
After many of the 180 home runs he’s hit, Judge points up to the sky as he rounds the bases. He was asked by the media during his rookie year in 2017 who he thought of when he pointed upwards.
“The Lord,” Judge said. “He put me in this position, blessed me with so many opportunities in my life. I just try to take a quick moment just to kind of thank Him. I just got a chance to hit a home run at Yankee Stadium. That’s something not too many people can say they’ve done.
“It’s a blessing every time I step on that field and get that opportunity.”
The Yankees have reached the postseason every year since Judge became a regular starter in 2017, but he is still chasing his first trip to the World Series and has only won the AL East once. This may be Judge’s best chance to change both if he keeps up his impressive pace.
New York begins a three-game home series with the Chicago Cubs on Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.
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