Yankees slugger Judge smashes his way to Home Run Derby title
Aaron Judge dominated Major League Baseball’s all-star Home Run Derby in the same manner he has smashed his way through his rookie season.
The larger-than-life New York Yankees slugger beat Minnesota’s Miguel Sano, 11-10, with two minutes to spare in the final Monday night, reaching 513 feet and displaying remarkable power to all fields.
Judge, six-foot-seven and 282 pounds, sprayed balls of the glass behind left field that supports the Marlins Park retractable roof, hit one over the Red Grooms home-run sculpture in left-centre, over the batter’s eye in straightaway centre and, unusually for a derby, to the opposite field, too.
He also hit the roof near a light bank in left, 160 feet above the field. That drive didn’t count.
Hitting second each time, Judge knocked out Miami’s Justin Bour, 23-22, in the first round and beat Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger, 13-12, in the second. Then, with lightning visible behind the huge glass door, he hit a 458-foot drive to centre for the title.
Judge leads the majors with 30 home runs. Booed initially by the crowd of 37,027, Judge earned their cheers once defending champion Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins was eliminated in the first round.
Judge will bat third for the American League on Tuesday, meaning his first trip to the plate will come in the top of the first against National League starter Max Scherzer. And Scherzer sounds eager to check out the phenom.
“I’ve seen it from afar, the year he’s had so far,” said Scherzer, the Washington Nationals’ ace. “Obviously been the best hitter there in the American League. I think they will all agree with that. I enjoy facing the best.”