2013 Draft: Aaron Judge

Update: Cashman confirms plan is to have Teixeira & Youkilis back with big league team on Friday
Sherman: Wang will opt-out only if he has Major League offers

The 2013 amateur draft will be held from June 6-8 this year, and between now and then I’m going to highlight some prospects individually rather than lump them together into larger posts.

Aaron Judge | OF

After turning down the Athletics as a 31st round pick out of a California high school in 2010, Judge went on to hit .345/.451/.529 with 18 homers and 36 steals in 169 games across three years for Fresno State. He put up a .369/.461/.655 line with 12 homers and 12 steals in 56 games this spring.

Scouting Report
First things first: Judge is a monster. He’s listed at 6-foot-7 and 255 lbs. on Fresno State’s site, meaning he’s taller than every outfielder in baseball history other than Frank Howard. For what it’s worth, only nine outfielders in history are listed at 6-foot-6 or taller, and four are active: Kyle Blanks, John Mayberry Jr., Giancarlo Stanton, and Corey Hart. He’s enormous, and with that enormous frame comes enormous power. Judge’s batting practice displays rival Stanton’s, though he doesn’t always carry the pop over into games because he sets his hands high and has a hard time getting under the ball to drive it in the air. He’s especially prone to pitches down in the zone. Judge works counts well and will swing-and-miss a bunch, which is to be expected for a power hitter with a strike zone that big. Despite his size, he’s a very good athlete and a quick runner capable of playing center field. He’s expected to shift to right in pro ball, where his strong arm will suit him well. Between the size, speed, and athleticism, Judge is definitely a physical freak. There are plenty more videos available on YouTube.

Keith Law (subs. req’d) and Baseball America ranked Judge as the 17th and 30th best prospect in the draft in their latest rankings, respectively. Right-handed power is hard to find and the Yankees love both up-the-middle athletes and physically huge players (especially pitchers), so Judge seems like someone who would be right up their alley. He offers defensive and base-running value as well, so he’s more than just a meathead masher. Whether the Yankees are willing to use/get a chance to use of their three first round picks (26th, 32nd, 33rd) on him remains to be seen.

Update: Cashman confirms plan is to have Teixeira & Youkilis back with big league team on Friday
Sherman: Wang will opt-out only if he has Major League offers
  • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110
  • The Real Me

    Sounds very interesting. This seems like someone to get excited about. Maybe he drops into their laps.

  • Greg

    it’s pretty incredible how much this guy looks like Giancarlo Stanton

  • JohnC

    With that tremendous power comes a ton of strikeouts also as his swing is a little long. Most mock drafts I’ve seen have him gone before the Yanks pick, but if he’s there at 26, it’s be hard to pass him up

    • Wolfgang’s Fault

      I don’t find his swing too long in this video, but I don’t like his setup in the batter’s box, his bent knees, or the way he holds the bat with it tilted behind his head almost pointing toward the infield. He looks somewhat off-balance and like he’s feeling for the ball rather than balanced & comfortable & confident. Instead of waiting for the pitch to come to him, he looks like he’s sort of going out to meet it in neutral territory, & being a little off-balanced in his approach to boot, he’s not experiencing the type of success a player w/his tools should consistently be experiencing. He’s gotta develop enough confidence in his ability/tools to let the ball come to him and when it does & he likes the pitch, to get the most out of his potential payload when he commits to offering at it.

      Good hitters have a certain rhythm, a hitting stance that’s as “them” & as natural as their personality, & they command the batter’s box just as they eventually will the strike zone. With all his size and power, his approach is more like a utility man contact guy than a power hitter. I’d rather see him work on being a little closer to the plate, more straight up, obviously better balanced and comfortable in the hitter’s box, & with a little more animation & yet ease in his body language & approach. I guess he seems a little too tight & tentative, too under control to me rather than allowing his natural ability to take over and play.

      Like a pitcher who aims his pitches rather than letting the ball flow naturally out of his hand, this guy needs to allow the pitch to do what it will and coordinate & command his head & body so as to fully reach the potential his abilities would suggest he has in order for him to consistently “return serve” when the pitch reaches his most opportune hitting zone. If he can recognize pitches out of a pitchers hand, get comfortable in the box, hit using the entire field, & get comfortable & confident in his own abilities and skin, then we just may have something here. He has a pretty swing. Can he translate it into the kind of hitter that his ability would suggest he someday could possibly become? Only time will tell. To do so, he has to believe in his natural ability and tools and hone them or force himself into permitting that ability & those tools to play, turning himself into a hitter capable of driving the ball far and of adjusting & taking it the other way when it’s there for him. You can’t be afraid to fail in this game or you will. You can’t be so cocky that you don’t think it through, but you can’t be so thought out that you’re in-between everything & no where to be found. He’s gotta find a happy medium between the mind/body continuum that works for him.

  • Nick

    The speed/power/raw athleticism combo sort of has me thinking of a baseball version of Jason Pierre-Paul.

    • Dalek Jeter

      That’d be awesome, but hitting a baseball is much more difficult than rushing a passer.

      • pat

        Really? If DE’s succeeded every 3 out of 10 dropbacks they’d have a lot more sacks, no?

        • JobaWockeeZ

          If you’re judging someone’s career ons acks which is literally one percent of their actual playing time then sure.

          • JobaWockeeZ

            Oh wait fuck me I didn’t read. Disregard.

      • fuster

        might be more difficult, but if you hit a baseball as hard as JPP hits QBs, the baseballs go a lot further.

  • Hassey

    Why would we need someone like him when we already have Stone Cold Reid Brignac?

    • The Real Me

      Let’s face it, Brignac’s monsterous start and awesome power numbers will fall off sometime this season. Whenever that happens, what will the Yankees (and more importantly, their fans) do? :-)

  • MannyGeee

    1. Draft this kid
    2. sign this kid
    3. Make a shit ton of these:

    4. SUCCESS!

    • The Doctor

      Judge just shot to the top of my draft charts.

  • Scout

    Sorry, but when I see very tall outfielders who swing and miss often, my mind flashes back to Andy Brown. He, too, was a Yankee first-round draft choice, and quite possibly the worst player I ever watched in A-ball.

  • fuster

    wasn’t Dave Winfield 6’6”?

  • Paco Dooley

    Their love of physically huge players hasn’t exactly worked out that well – see Brackman and Betances.

    • Cool Lester Smooth

      Pop Quiz time!

      Q: What does the failure of past pitching prospects have to do with the development of current hitting prospects?

      A: Absolutely nothing.

  • JLC 776

    I love watching these videos again now that the draft is underway! His swing doesn’t look too long, which kind of surprises me, but it looks like he puts a lot of sheer arm strength into the swings – not as much movement from the hips down. It will be interesting to see how well he adjusts to tougher pitchers – if he can develop his eye and keep the Ks reasonable, he could be exciting to watch.