Can he do it again? Predicting Aaron Judge’s 2023 season based on MLB history

  • Covers MLB for
  • Former deputy editor of Page 2
  • Been with since 1995

A year after a remarkable MVP campaign that saw him break Roger Maris’ long-standing American League record with 62 home runs, Aaron Judge looks poised for an encore performance.

In his first at-bat of 2023, he swung and connected on a sinker from San Francisco Giants pitcher Logan Webb that veered back into the middle of the strike zone. Judge sent the ball on a high arc toward the center-field wall, just past the outstretched glove of a leaping Mike Yastrzemski.

“He’s done it already,” Yankees announcer John Sterling exclaimed as Judge rounded the bases to a standing ovation, greeting his teammates in the dugout with a big smile.

Judge is off to a solid start with five home runs and a .286 batting average through Sunday. A season ago, he homered just once in his first 13 games. He even had a couple other relatively cold stretches: a nine-game homerless stretch in August and, as he closed in on Maris, one home run over 13 games before he finally hit record-breaking No. 62 in the Yankees’ next-to-last game.

Can he do it again? The assumption: probably not. Judge knows he’s battling history. After all, the last player with even back-to-back 45-homer seasons was Ryan Howard, who did it four straight seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies from 2006 to 2009.

“I know very few followed up with 60. A couple I know hit 50 after that. But we’ll see what happens,” Judge said on Opening Day. “Maybe we can make a new list. We’ll see.”

Judge not only crushed home runs in 2022 but hit for a high average (.311) and drew a ton of walks (111), giving him an overall line of .311/.425/.686. Via the metrics at, Judge created an estimated 80 runs more than the average batter would have over the same number of plate appearances (adjusting for home park and league run-scoring environment, so a player from low-scoring 1968 can be compared to a player from high-scoring 2001). Since the beginning of the expansion era in 1961, only three players created more runs above average in a season than Judge: Barry Bonds (three times), Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, with Mickey Mantle matching Judge at +80 in 1961.

Let’s break down what Judge may accomplish in 2023 by digging into the past and considering three areas of performance: 1) Career seasons; 2) The consistency of great hitters; 3) What happens in the season immediately following a great season.

Source: Read Full Article