Yankees RF Aaron Judge has quickly become one of the MLB's prolific power hitters. But his numbers recently haven't been able to back that up.
You might have noticed Judge's power numbers this season haven't been what they should be. He has only totaled 12 homers and 12 doubles for his 24 extra-base hits over 69 games thus far.
So is it time for the Yankees to start to worry about that aspect of Judge's bat? Well, let's really take a look at the numbers.
We must note that Judge dealt with an oblique injury early in the season, which is why he missed so many games. And whether or not that oblique is still bothering him and not allowing him to truly swing through a pitch was shot down by GM Brian Cashman last week when he said all the boxes were checked. Judge says he feels good, so lingering injury can be ruled out.
Since he returned on June 21, Judge's slash line has been good at .256/.380/.428, as his 35 walks have kept that on-base percentage high. But he only has seven homers over those 49 games. In fact, since July 19, Judge has only seen two hits go over the fence.
From a broader spectrum, Judge's 12 homers over 253 at-bats this season gives him a 4.7 percentage of hitting a ball out of the park this season. Last season in 413 at-bats, Judge hit 27 homers which comes to a 6.5 percentage. And his rookie season where he mashed 52 long balls, Judge hit a homer in just less than 10 percent of his 542 at-bats.
So Judge's average itself isn't bad (.265 for the season) and he says he feels 100 percent. He also hasn't been chasing balls out of the zone, which was a good sign he'd break out of his slump (he's hitting .222 in August thus far). Where could the issue lie then?
How about launch angle?
Thanks to Baseball Savant, analyzing Judge's Statcast numbers shows that his 10.4 average launch angle this season is the lowest of his career. He had a 15.8 launch angle in 2017 and 12.4 last season. And on the other side of things, his exit velocity is the highest it's ever been at 96.9 this season.
Judge is hitting the ball hard, but he's just not getting that desired launch angle to put it into the bleachers. He has been tweaking his stance this season, moving his hands up and down and shortening his leg kick. But it's unknown if that's the reason why the launch angle has gone down.
Of course, power isn't the only thing that matters for hitters. But with a player like Judge, who can always change a game with one swing, it does as it's his calling card. He has collected two hits in each of his last two games, and as the Yankees begin a West Coast swing with the A's tonight, we'll see if those hits can turn into round trippers soon.
Judge is certainly more than due for a victory lap around the bases.