Aaron Judge, OF, Yan­kees

The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

What’s up: The big­gest Bronx Bomber of them all — Judge is listed at 6foot-7, 282 pounds — will be the big­gest story of the All-star Game in Miami. He’ll get top billing in Mon­day night’s Home Run Derby, out­shin­ing even Mar­lins slug­ger Gian­carlo Stan­ton, who checks in at 6-foot-6, 245 pounds. The home run derby has got­ten a bit stale, but this year’s event will be a must-see, tape-mea­sure ex­trav­a­ganza. Stan­ton, you might re­call, broke the aux­il­iary score­board when Mar­lins Park opened in 2012, hit­ting a rocket off the Rock­ies’ Jamie Moyer. Ear­lier this sea­son, Judge launched a homer that flew so high and so far it looked like it was en­hanced by spe­cial ef­fects. The 495-foot blast was the long­est home run in the his­tory of new Yan­kee Sta­dium.

Back­ground: Judge, 25, wears No. 99. He wanted No. 44, but that num­ber was re­tired by the Yan­kees in 1993 to honor Reg­gie Jack­son. He was the 32nd pick of the 2013 draft but didn’t make his big-league de­but un­til Aug. 13 of last sea­son. He en­tered the week­end with 29 homers, the most in the ma­jors by a long shot, and Judge could be on his way to be­com­ing only the sec­ond player in his­tory to cap­ture the home run crown as a rookie (Mark Mcg­wire did it 1987, hit­ting 49). Judge has al­ready tied Joe Dimag­gio’s Yan­kees record for home runs by a rookie. How pop­u­lar is Judge? One of his rookie base­ball cards re­cently sold on ebay for $14,665.

Saun­ders’ take: I’m the kind of base­ball fan who loves a well-pitched game, a slick dou­ble play and a Nolan Are­nado master­piece at third base as much as a mon­ster home run. Strike­outs are way up this sea­son and so are home runs, so that’s not my fa­vorite brand of base­ball. That said, the emer­gence of Judge is great for base­ball. There is an aura around the rookie that’s im­pos­si­ble to re­sist. He’s an all-star, yet he’s still liv­ing out of two suit­cases in a ho­tel in Times Square. He was adopted by two for­mer school teach­ers and grew up in Lin­den, Calif., a small agri­cul­tural town about two hours from San Fran­cisco. Now he’s shin­ing in the Big Ap­ple. The unan­i­mous ver­dict: Judge is good for the game. — Pa­trick Saun­ders, The Den­ver Post

Kathy Wil­lens, The As­so­ci­ated Press

The Yan­kees’ Aaron Judge should put on an im­pres­sive show in the Home Run Derby on Mon­day night.

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