Aaron Judge eyes Triple Crown: Yankees star has AL’s best batting average in historic season

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gettyimages 1426044180 1 Aaron Judge eyes Triple Crown: Yankees star has AL's best batting average in historic season

By any measure, New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is enjoying a historic 2022 season. He is one away from tying Roger Morris’ American League single-season record of 61 homers., and thanks to a poor September, Judge has now inserted himself into the batting title race. Tremendous power and a high average give Judge a shot at the triple crown.

After finishing in the National League, Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt makes his own run at the Triple CrownAnd the only other player in history to win the Triple Crown in both leagues in the same season: Hall of Famers Jimmy Foxx (Athletics) and Chuck Klein (Phillies) did it in 1933. Although Judge and Goldschmidt have a small chance. One thing to do this year.

As the regular season winds down, here’s what you need to know about Judge’s Triple Crown chase.

Most recent AL Triple Crown winners

There has only been one Triple Crown winner in the past half-century, and each of the last six Triple Crown winners has come from the American League. You have to go all the way back to Joe Medwick with the 1937 Cardinals for the last NL Triple Crown. Here are those last six AL triple crowns:

Miguel Cabrera, 2012 Tigers (Won MVP)

.330

44

139

Carl Yastremski, 1967 Red Sox (Won MVP)

.326

44

121

Frank Robinson, 1966 Orioles (Won MVP)

.316

49

122

Mickey Mantle, 1956 Yankees (Won MVP)

.353

52

130

Ted Williams, 1947 Red Sox (MVP runner-up)

.343

32

114

Ted Williams, 1942 Red Sox (MVP runner-up)

.356

36

137

batting average

As a big man (listed at 6-foot-7 and 282 pounds) who hit a lot of home runs, Judge was often stereotyped as a lumberjack or a nothing slugger. Not so. He’s an efficient natural hitter who hit .287 last season and enters 2022 with a .276 batting average in nearly 2,500 plate appearances. Despite his enormous strike zone, Judge hit for a solid average.

Players must have 3.1 plate appearances per team game to qualify for the batting title (that’s 502 plate appearances over a full 162-game season). Here’s the AL batting race from Sept. 21:

  1. Aaron Judge, Yankees: .3171
  2. Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox: .3166
  3. Luis Ares, Twins: .313
  4. Jose Abreu, White Sox: .308
  5. Nate Lowe, Rangers: .308

If that average is too low for a potential batting champ, that is. Last year Astros first baseman Yuli Kuriel won the AL batting title with a .319 average. It was the lowest average for a batting champion in either league since Justin Morneau won the NL title with a .319 average for the Rockies in 2014. The AL batting champion with the lowest average was Rod Carew with the 1972 doubles (.318). ) ).

Batting averages have steadily declined in recent years. Prompts MLB to limit defensive changes starting in 2023,

Home runs

They say you can’t predict baseball, but I can safely predict that Judge will win the home run title this season. And not just in the AL. In all of baseball. He holds a commanding leadership. Here’s the AL home run leaderboard through September. 21 (No minimum plate appearance to qualify):

  1. Aaron Judge, Yankees: 60
  2. Yordon Alvarez, Houston: 37
  3. Mike Trout, Angels: 36
  4. Shohei Ohtani, Angels: 34

The last player to lead baseball in home runs in 1933 was Jimmie Foxx with 14 runs. He hit 48 homers that season. Babe Ruth finished second with 34. Judge has a chance to do that this year (and then some). . He’s going to win the home run title. The only question is how much.

Judge also hit the home run record with 52 as a rookie in 2017. The only active players with multiple home run titles are Cabrera (2008 AL and 2012 AL), Nolan Arenado (2015 NL, 2016 NL, 2018 NL), Albert Pujols (2009 NL and 2010 NL), and Giancarlo Stanton (2014 NL and 2017 NL). ).

Scored runs

Judge is much more than a home run hitter. He entered September with an incredible .363/.504/.780 batting line with runners in scoring position, so he can deliver that single to the opposite field when you need it. Not everything goes over the wall. Holmes raises the total amount of RBI. Here’s the AL RBI leaderboard from September. 21 (No minimum plate appearance to qualify):

  1. Aaron Judge, Yankees: 128
  2. Jose Ramirez, Defenders: 115
  3. Kyle Tucker, Astros: 102
  4. Yordon Alvarez, Astros: 94
  5. Adolis Garcia, Rangers: 94

Judge has a (very good) chance to become baseball’s first 130 RBI man since JD Martinez hit 132 with the 2018 Red Sox. He is the first player to reach 140 RBI since Prince Fielder (Brewers) and Ryan Howard (Phillies) both had 141 in 2009. No AL player has had 140 RBI in a season since Alex Rodriguez had 156 with the 2007 Yankees.

Ramirez is lurking in the RBI race, although Judge currently has a comfortable lead, and the home run title is in the bag. The Triple Crown chase will come down to whether Judge can reel in the batting title as well. This is the only category where significant work has yet to be done.

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