The New York Yankees promoted outfield prospect Aaron Judge to the major leagues today. As noted by Wayne Cavadi earlier this afternoon, Judge homered in his first major league at-bat.
Wayne also looked at Judge back in May with a detailed report. Here's my take.
Judge was drafted in the first round in 2013 out of Fresno State University. He hit .308/.419/.486 between Low-A and High-A in 2014, then followed up with a .255/.330/.448 line between Double-A and Triple-A in 2015.
The view pre-season from the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book:
Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-7 WT: 255 DOB: April 26, 1992
2014: Grade B-; 2015: Grade B+
Aaron Judge has huge power and has done a good job of getting to it frequently against pro pitching. He’ll also take a walk and is an under-rated defensive outfielder with a right-field arm; he’s also fast enough to steal a few bases although he hasn’t been aggressive about that in pro ball. The question has always been contact, if his big wingspan would prove a hindrance at higher levels. He had no trouble in Double-A last year but Triple-A was different. He’s not just a masher and shows flashes of impressive pure hitting skills, but he did have problems being consistent about that for Scranton. He killed lefties (.304/.444/.536) but right-handers dominated him (.198/.255/.320) and obviously that will need to change. Judge turns 24 in April so he’s not exactly young as elite prospects go. I like the power a lot, but am uncertain about where the batting average and OBP will land. There’s some risk here. Grade B.
Judge hit just .224/.308/.373 last season in Triple-A but has been more effective this year, hitting .270/.366/.489 with 19 homers, 47 walks, and 98 strikeouts in 352 at-bats for Scranton. He still does a lot of his damage against lefties (.279/.357/.613) but has been less helpless against right-handers this year at .266/.370/.432 compared to last season.
My general view of Judge hasn't changed: you have to love the power and he's a very good defender in right field. There's still some uncertainty in my view about what his batting average and OBP will look like once MLB pitchers get a good look at him. He may never be much more than a .260 hitter, albeit a .260 hitter with 30-homer power when he reaches his peak.
He has little left to prove against minor league pitching and the Yankees should just let him play, take any lumps and make adjustments. They should see plenty of this (Judge's homer begins at 34 seconds) going forward: