He is still at 60 home runs, and the next one will tie Roger Maris‘ old American League record of 61 dingers in a single season.
As he chases the franchise record, Yankees manager Aaron Boone has been deploying Judge as the leadoff hitter more often than usual.
It may seem odd, especially for traditionalists and old-timers to see the team’s most powerful hitter batting leadoff.
Historically, the leadoff spot has been reserved for speedy contact-oriented hitters with on-base skills.
Boone, however, is keeping up with recent trends and explaining it to the media in a hilarious way.
“Aaron Boone was asked why he hits #AaronJudge leadoff, when hitting a 60 HR guy would’ve been unthinkable in Ruth/Mantle/Maris’ day. “40 years ago, they ran the Wing-T and Wishbone. 40 years ago, if a guy dunked, it was a big deal. The game evolves and changes,” MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch tweeted, quoting the Yanks’ skipper.
Aaron Boone was asked why he hits #AaronJudge leadoff, when hitting a 60 HR guy would've been unthinkable in Ruth/Mantle/Maris' day.
"40 years ago, they ran the Wing-T and Wishbone. 40 years ago, if a guy dunked, it was a big deal. The game evolves and changes."
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) September 26, 2022
Hitting Judge First Is A Sound Idea
What Boone means is that teams have been more open to hitting their best batters up in the lineup, even in the leadoff spot.
Theoretically, the idea is sound: power hitters are often very good at getting on base via walks, which is Judge’s case.
And the main requisite of being a leadoff hitter should be getting on base.
In addition to that, leadoff hitters will have more plate appearances than everyone else in the lineup; and giving Judge more chances at making history sounds like a perfect plan.
While it’s true that Judge would have been limited to the third or fourth spot in the lineup back in the day, that’s not the case anymore.
In fact, he has batted second virtually all season.