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Aaron Judge: The New Face of Major League Baseball

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What a week young Aaron Judge has had. The 25-year-old baseball standout for the New York Yankees not only won the Home Run Derby — he played in his first All-Star Game. (And for what it’s worth, ESPN noted that a baseball card signed by Judge just sold on eBay for more than $14,000.)

The California native has been making headlines all season long for his prowess on the field, as well as his seemingly happy-go-lucky and fan-pleasing personality. For his abilities, his agility, his strength, his clutch playing and his dedication to the game, some have called him the new face of America’s favorite pastime.

Here's what you need to about the powerful athlete.

1.) He's a rookie for the New York Yankees. After being drafted as the 32nd pick in the 2013 MLB draft out of Fresno State, Judge spent an injury-plagued four years in the minor leagues.

The right-fielder made a brief appearance last season for only 27 of 162 games. It wasn't until 2017 that he finally made his real major league debut. He's taken the league by storm ever since. (go to page 2 to continue reading) 

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2.) He's an all-star. Let's be clear: Judge isn't having a great year "for a rookie" — he's having an absolutely great year for any baseball player, period.

The Yankee outfielder ranks first in the league with 30 home runs, second in runs with 75, first in on base percentage, at .449, and third in batting average, at .329.

He has also already broken Joe DiMaggio's record for the most home runs as a Yankee rookie — and he still has over 70 games to go. (go to page 3 to continue reading) 

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3.) He hits lots of home runs and he hits them hard. If it's not enough that Judge leads the MLB in home runs and took the Home Run Derby, he's also hit the longest home run in regular play this season so far, at an unbelievable distance of 496 feet.

This man hits the ball far and hard. MLB keeps track of the exit velocity of every hit — how fast the ball comes off the bat — and Judge is in the top four-fastest exit velocities this season. (go to page 4 to continue reading) 

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4.) He's huge. Part of the reason Judge can generate the power to hit baseballs as he does is his massive build. He is 6'7 and weighs 280 pounds. There's the conventional wisdom that taller players have a disadvantage because their long arms make it harder for them to swing fast enough to catch up to the pitch — but Judge mastered the art of the literal grand slam.

Tony Clark, head of the Baseball Players Association — who himself played in the MLB at 6'8 — said that this "is why we don't have many position players 6 foot 6 or bigger," according to the New York Post. "It is difficult [with] your body consistently in position to execute the same swing over and over again. I had it in windows of time, but never all the time. I've never seen it this consistently for a player of this size this early in his career." (go to page 5 to continue reading) 

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5.) Aaron Judge is here to stay. One of the things New Yorkers love more than Judge's performance on the field is his attitude off the field. The slugger has handled the ever-growing attention just as he handles a fastball in the middle of the strike zone, as the Post also noted. He has shown humility and respect to his teammates, and consistently pulls the "just doing my job" card.

It's that type of humility that has garnered comparisons to the great Yankee player Derek Jeter. Judge's blue-collar approach combined with his superb play is a strong indicator he's no one-hit wonder; he'll be around for a while to rack up many more jaw-dropping hits.

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