New York Yankees’ man of the moment Aaron Judge is having a dream season, which if not the best of his career, is definitely then one of them.
He is currently close to breaking Roger Maris‘ American League record of 61 homers in a single season.
Thanks to a spectacular September, hitting .514/.596/1.081 over his last 10 games, Judge has put his name in the running for the triple crown, among other awards he could win.
Paul Goldschmidt of the St. Louis Cardinals is making his own case in the National League, and only once have there been two triple-crown winners in both leagues in the same year.
Hall of Famers Jimmie Foxx (Athletics) and Chuck Klein (Phillies) did it in 1933, so Judge and Goldschmidt have a chance, however slim, to do it this year.
Players who have achieved such recognition in the past are as follows, ranked in order of batting average, homers hit and runs scored.
- Miguel Cabrera, 2012 Tigers (won MVP) .330/ 44/ 139
- Carl Yastrzemski, 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
The 30-year-old Californian batted .287 last season and entered 2022 with a .276 batting average in nearly 2,500 plate appearances.
Despite his huge strike zone, Judge is hitting 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 for the full 162-game season).
Here’s the American League batting race as of Sept. 14:
- Luis Arraez, Twins: .319.
- Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox: .318
- Jose Abreu, White Sox: .312
- Aaron Judge, Yankees: .310
- Nate Lowe, Rangers: .307
Aaron Judge (57 HR) now has 20 more home runs than anyone else in MLB (Kyle Schwarber, 37).
It’s the first time a player will finish a calendar day with a 20-plus HR lead since the final day of the 1928 season, when Babe Ruth surpassed Jim Bottomley and Hack Wilson by 23 home runs. According to ESPN data.
- Aaron Judge, Yankees: 57
- Mike Trout, Angels: 35
- Shohei Ohtani, Angels: 34
- Yordan Alvarez, Houston: 33
- Several tied with 30
Judge also won the home run title 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 ( NL 2009 and NL 2010), and Giancarlo Stanton (NL 2014 and NL 2017).
Judge has a chance to become the first man in baseball with 130 RBIs since JD Martinez had 132 with the 2018 Red Sox.
He could become the first to reach 140 RBIs since Prince Fielder (Brewers) and Ryan Howard (Phillies) had 141 in 2009.
No American League player has had 140 RBIs in a season since Alex Rodriguez had 156 with the 2007 Yankees.
- Aaron Judge, Yankees: 123
- Jose Ramirez, Guardians: 109
- Kyle Tucker, Astros: 95
- Adolis Garcia, Rangers: 92
- Shohei Ohtani, Angels: 88
The Triple Crown chase will come down to whether Judge can also win the batting title as that’s the one category where significant work remains to be done.