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Aaron Judge home runs tracker: Yankees star ties Roger Maris’ 61, on pace for 64

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Aaron Judge has joined MLB home run royalty. The Yankees star crushed his 61st home run of the season Wednesday, joining an exclusive list of sluggers and tying Roger Maris for the American League single-season record.

Back in spring training, Judge rejected a very reasonable seven-year contract extension worth $213.5 million. It was a bold decision, no doubt about it, and Judge has responded this season by doing what seemed impossible: he’s made himself more money. Some players would crack under that pressure. Judge hasn’t. He’s thrived. 

In addition to home runs Judge also leads the league in walks, runs scored, RBI, total bases, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS+, and both the FanGraphs and Baseball Reference versions of WAR. The race for the home run title isn’t much of a race at all. 

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Here is the MLB home run leaderboard as of Sept. 28:

  1. Aaron Judge, Yankees: 61
  2. Kyle Schwarber, Phillies: 42
  3. Pete Alonso, Mets: 40
  4. Yordan Alvarez, Astros: 37
  5. Austin RileyBraves37
  6. Mike Trout, Angels: 37

Slugging 61 homers through 155 team games puts Judge on pace to hit 64 home runs this season. 

There is some wonderful symmetry in Judge’s pursuit of Maris’ AL home run record. Maris, who passed away in 1985, hit 61 homers 61 years ago in 1961. He also wore No. 9. Judge wears No. 99. Also, Judge hit his 203rd career home run on Aug. 10, the same number of homers Maris hit with the Yankees. 

“It’s always nice to see dad brought back in the public eye a little bit for his accolades in baseball. He accomplished a lot in the game. We couldn’t be more proud in what he accomplished. Sixty-one is a unique number,” Kevin Maris, one of Roger’s sons, told MLB.com in August. “… But [we] would be excited for [Judge if] he is able to achieve [the] monumental task. It’s something that is a unique record, one of the best in sports. Hitting a baseball is not easy. To accomplish that, you have done it over a season, not just one game or one at-bat.”

Single-season home run leaderboard

Before we go any further, I should note only nine times in MLB history has a player hit 60 home runs in a season, and six — the top six — of the eight came during what has become known as the Steroid Era. What we’re talking about Judge possibly doing doesn’t happen often. Here are the nine 60-homer seasons in history:

  1. Barry Bonds, 2001 Giants: 73
  2. Mark McGwire, 1998 Cardinals: 70
  3. Sammy Sosa, 1998 Cubs: 66
  4. Mark McGwire, 1999 Cardinals: 65
  5. Sammy Sosa, 2001 Cubs: 64
  6. Sammy Sosa, 1999 Cubs: 63
  7. Aaron Judge, 2022 Yankees: 61 (and counting)
  8. Roger Maris, 1961 Yankees: 61
  9. Babe Ruth, 1927 Yankees: 60

Giancarlo Stanton made MLB’s last run at 60 homers, going deep 59 times in his 2017 NL MVP season. That includes a truly mind-boggling stretch in which Stanton hit 30 homers in a 48-game span. Ryan Howard slugged 58 homers in his 2006 NL MVP season. Even in this homer-happy era, it is not often a player makes a real run at 60 dingers.

The Yankee Stadium factor

Judge certainly plays in the right home ballpark to make a run at 61-plus homers. Yankee Stadium is one of the most home-run-happy ballparks in the big leagues, though Judge hasn’t padded his total with short right field porch cheapies. According to Statcast, Judge has hit only two home runs this season that would have been homers at Yankee Stadium and only Yankee Stadium: a 364-footer vs. Shane McClanahan on June 15 and another 364-footer against Jonathan Heasley on July 30.

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That home run against Heasley was Judge’s 200th career homer. He reached 200 career homers in only 671 games, the second fewest ever behind Ryan Howard (658).

It is no surprise Judge’s career home run rate at home (one every 13.2 plate appearances) is higher than his home run rate on the road (one every 16.1 plate appearances). Judge can hit the ball out of any part of any park. The Yankees only have three home games remaining this season: Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 vs. Orioles.

What about his workload?

This is important. The Yankees have seven games remaining and have already clinched the AL East title and a Wild Card Series bye. Those seven games are meaningless. Manager Aaron Boone has hinted at giving Judge a day off at some point to rest him before the postseason. That could happen soon, though it seems unlikely it would happen on the upcoming homestand. Yankees fans might burn Yankee Stadium to the ground if 50,000 people show up and Judge isn’t in the lineup.

“I hope (we can give him a day off) at some point. It means we’re in a good position. It’s been a while now,” Boone recently told the New York Post. “… The handful of off days he got over the course of the year have served him well.”  

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The ultimate goal is winning the World Series (Judge himself would tell you that), so the Yankees will do what they think is best to make sure the team is in the best position heading into October.



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For USA, the focus now shifts to 2026 World Cup

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The USMNT came up short in Qatar but with a home-soil World Cup looming and more experience, players believe: “The past can only fuel success in the future.”



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20 Fantasy Thoughts: Kadri still searching for offence with Flames

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Cal Petersen ending up on waivers was a bit of a shocker.

I actually drafted Petersen with my final pick in one league, thinking Jonathan Quick wouldn’t be able to sustain the numbers he produced last year and Petersen might be able to overtake him. My projection on Quick is proving true, but I couldn’t have been more wrong about Petersen. He looks nothing like the goalie from 2020-21 that had a .911 save percentage.

The Los Angeles Kings are in an interesting predicament. There’s no question they can ice a very competitive team, but Los Angeles is in danger of squandering their season if they don’t get some saves. You can only lean on a 36-year-old Quick so much and banking on him to recapture some of last season’s form seems like a longshot at this point. Perhaps the Kings will simply have no choice but to consider a trade.

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This is just me thinking out loud, but with the emergence of Pyotr Kochetkov, maybe the Carolina Hurricanes would be willing to move a goalie for cap reasons. Both Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta are pending UFAs and would be an upgrade to what the Kings have been dealing with this season.

It makes too much sense, which likely means it won’t happen.

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1. Matty Beniers was dropped by many after a slow stretch in early November and now he’s making those who did so really regret it. The Seattle Kraken forward has five goals and 12 points in his past six games and even though it’s still early, he’s staking his claim for the Calder. After struggling to score last year, Seattle is surprisingly sitting third in the NHL in goals for and is filling the net with regularity. Beniers is still only rostered in 42 per cent of leagues, so it’s a good time to circle back and see if you have space for him on your team.

2. Other young players haven’t been so fortunate. After an incredible preseason, Marco Rossi has struggled to stay in the lineup and is now down in the AHL. Nick Robertson is also finding it difficult to find a role on the Toronto Maple Leafs, despite starting off with two goals in his first game this season. For every Beniers, there are dozens of other prospects who take much longer to provide any fantasy value. Sometimes you have to be patient.

3. Goals in three of four games now for Auston Matthews. That’s a good sign for those who drafted him, but it still only puts the Maple Leafs sniper on pace for 38 this season. For most players, 38 goals is a really solid showing, though the expectations were much higher for Matthews. Many thought he had a realistic shot at exceeding 60 and even 50 seemed like a worst-case scenario. Of course, Matthews could drop a few multi-goal games in a row and totally flip the pace around. There’s still time, but it feels like December might be a make-or-break month for Matthews in regards to getting back on track to reach the totals we’re used to seeing from him.

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4. Andrei Kuzmenko’s streaky season continues. After posting two points in his first seven games, Kuzmenko then posted nine points in his next five, before going pointless in four. The Vancouver Canucks forward recently dropped 10 points in five games when he was really clicking with Elias Pettersson and now, he’s been held without a point in three straight. Kuzmenko seems like one of those players who is going to be added and dropped all season long. You’ll just have to hope you scoop him up at the right time.

5. Thatcher Demko is set to miss the next six weeks with an injury, so it’s the Spencer Martin show for the time being. Martin’s record has been surprisingly good thus far and if nothing else, he’ll figure to play regularly with Demko out. He’s an option if you’re desperate for help between the pipes.

6. After going goalless for a lengthy stretch that dated back to last season, Alex Killorn now has 17 points in his past 16 games. The Tampa Bay Lightning have a few players like Killorn, Brandon Hagel and Nick Paul getting a boost from that potent top six. See if you can take advantage of it with a waiver wire pickup.

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7. It’s time to be concerned over Vincent Trocheck. The New York Rangers forward fell out of the top six recently and has just a single point in six games. The silver lining here is that Trocheck is still on the top power play, so maybe there’s a chance he can pull himself out of this. Unfortunately, those who were hoping Trocheck could have an offensive renaissance in New York have been sorely disappointed thus far.

8. Tough timing for Anton Lundell’s injury. The Florida Panthers forward had points in four straight games, to go along with eight penalty minutes, 10 shots and 17 faceoff wins. He was really excelling in the Panthers’ top six with Aleksander Barkov sidelined. Hopefully, Lundell’s usage remains similar when he returns.

9. Cam Talbot has a .928 save percentage over his past five games. It’s safe to say he’s claimed the starting job for the Ottawa Senators and Anton Forsberg’s value is diminishing rapidly.

10. Games don’t get much more productive than the one Nathan MacKinnon had this week against the Buffalo Sabres. MacKinnon finished with two goals, three assists, three power-play points, two penalty minutes, eight shots, eight faceoff wins and two blocks. It would’ve been nice if he picked up a few hits, though. All joking aside, that’s one of the more versatile games for category coverage I’ve seen in recent memory.

11. Adin Hill’s value is settling into simply a backup role on a good team in Vegas. I thought there was a chance he could split more time with Logan Thompson, given coach Bruce Cassidy’s history of rotating goalies. Thompson, though, started three straight games recently for the first time all season. He’s undoubtedly the true number one with the Golden Knights.

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12. No goals for Anders Lee in 11 games now. He’s still very effective for hits, but the lack of offence is concerning. Lee is on pace for 26 goals this season, his lowest pace for a full 82-game campaign since 2015-16.

13. Cole Perfetti is starting to catch fire. I mentioned Perfetti as someone to watch in the Winnipeg Jets’ top six in the pre-season, and he’s finally hitting his stride. He’s really connecting with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler to the tune of six points in his past four games. There are also other good reasons to consider Perfetti: the Jets play four times next week, and Perfetti is C, LW, and RW eligible. Great roster flexibility there.

14. It feels like the Buffalo Sabres have a plethora of fantasy relevant forwards this year, and JJ Peterka is the latest to go on a run. Peterka quietly has points in five of six games, thanks to being able to take advantage of Dylan Cozens’ recent strong play. I’m not sure I’d pick him up right now but put Peterka on your watch list.

15. The same goes for promising rookie Jonatan Berggren of the Detroit Red Wings. He’s notched six points in 10 games since being called up, though he isn’t getting as much of an opportunity as Peterka. Maybe if he keeps this up, Berggren will get a shot in the top six at some point with Tyler Bertuzzi injured again.

16. Alex Nedeljkovic got his first start since Nov. 12 this week and promptly gave up four goals in the loss, dropping his save percentage to .880 on the year. He’s played very sparingly, as Ville Husso has taken over the starting job in Detroit. Nedeljkovic isn’t worth rostering at this point.

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17. Seattle’s offence is even trickling down to the fourth line, where Daniel Sprong amazingly has seven points in his past seven games and 14 in 17 overall this season, playing only limited minutes. For a team that couldn’t score at all last year, the Kraken suddenly have a bunch of forwards that are fantasy options.

18. I’ve mentioned Evan Bouchard’s recent surge might give him an opportunity to overtake Tyson Barrie for first power play time and it appears to be happening. Over the past two games, Bouchard has played 7:58 on the power play to Barrie’s 4:21. If this keeps up, Bouchard’s value should soar.

19. Fabian Zetterlund has remarkably picked up a point in eight of the past 11 games. What makes this so impressive is that Zetterlund is only averaging 12:43 per game this season. Talk about making the most of your opportunities. Everything is going right for the New Jersey Devils this year.

20. Nazem Kadri appeared to not miss a beat when he joined the Calgary Flames. He scored 11 points in his first 10 games and looked like he might be one of the best signings from the summer. Since then, though, he’s managed just five points and Kadri has been held to a single assist in his past eight contests. Kadri’s struggles aren’t for lack of opportunities. He’s getting top power play time and is actually starting in the offensive zone more frequently (76.7 per cent) than he did last year (63.1 per cent). However, the Flames power play hasn’t been great, sitting at 24th overall in the NHL. His linemates at even strength also leave a lot to be desired, as Andrew Mangiapane and Dillon Dube are both on pace for significantly lower outputs than they produced a year ago. Even with a pair of goals from Mangiapane on Saturday, he’s on only pace for 20 this season, while Dube is looking at just 13. They had 35 and 18, respectively, in 2021-22. Mangiapane’s trade value isn’t very high right now, so you’ll have to hope he goes on a tear or head coach Darryl Sutter re-works his lines to give Kadri a bump to the top group. If something doesn’t change, I don’t see Kadri coming anywhere close to the totals that made him such a coveted player in the off-season.

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2 Teams That Should Be Calling About Pirates CF Bryan Reynolds

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(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

 

As MLB free agency gets underway, there are still trades that are looking to be made across the league.

One player that has just become available in the trade market is Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds.

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Reynolds requested a trade from the Pirates on Saturday, and most outfield-needy teams should be calling.

The 27-year-old is a perennial all-star and one of the most underrated players in the MLB.

Here are two teams that should be calling about the Pirates’ star.

 

Toronto Blue Jays

One team that needs to be calling about Reynolds is the Toronto Blue Jays.

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After a disappointing season for them in 2022, the Blue Jays have pressure to make a run this year.

But, after trading away outfielder Teoscar Hernandez, the Blue Jays need another outfield bat.

Reynolds would be a perfect addition to their roster.

The switch hitter can slot in anywhere before or after Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette.

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Reynolds would be able to elevate his game with plenty of other good hitters around him in the Toronto lineup.

If the Bule Jays are serious about contending, this is a move they need to make.

 

Miami Marlins

The Miami Marlins are desperate for a star hitter.

They have not had an all-star caliber position player since Giancarlo Stanton in 2017.

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It is time for them to make a splash move to acquire a big bat.

Reynolds would slot into the middle of the Marlins’ lineup and immediately become their best hitter.

Miami has the pitching in place to contend in the National League.

With reigning NL Cy Young winner, Sandy Alcantara leading the way.

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If the Marlins can start to develop a good group of hitters around their pitching staff, the rebuild may not take so long.

This is a big offseason for Miami as they look primed to make some big moves.

The post 2 Teams That Should Be Calling About Pirates CF Bryan Reynolds appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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