If there was any doubt that Aaron Judge would dominate the Home Run Derby, number 99’s performance Monday night shut his critics up. In one of the most impressive displays of power ever seen before, Judge won the 2017 Home Run Derby. At the beginning of the night, fans were booing the Yankee rookie. By the end of the night, they were chanting his name.
Judge joins three other Yankees to ever win the contest: Tino Martinez (1997), Jason Giambi (2002) and Robinson Cano (2011).
As I stated before when previewing the derby, Aaron Judge was made for something like this. In total, Judge hit 47 home runs that had a total travel number of 20,459 feet. His longest home run was 513 feet, and as a witness I can tell you he was not messing around. At one point, he hit it between the columns of the roof, and into the concourse. That man is unbelievable.
The Home Run Derby was a smashing (pun intended) success from the start. Miami’s Justin Bour had the win in the palm of his hands in the first round, blasting 22 long balls. Judge however could not be stopped. He survived Bour’s onslaught with one of his own, hitting 23 laser shots. He then beat Dodgers phenom Cody Bellinger after overcoming his 12 long balls. In the end, it was between him and the Twins’ Miguel Sano.
All day in South Beach, I heard fans and radio personalities tell me not to sleep on Sano. Well what do you know, he made it to the finals. Unfortunately, he fell flat, hitting only ten home runs. To someone like Judge, this tournament was a simple batting practice. He easily hit 11 in order to win the crown and “wow” the crowd in the process. One of the balls he hit I actually caught, and it hurt.
The 25-year old wasn’t the only Yankee that impressed the packed house at Miami Park. Gary Sanchez, the 13 home run man, almost made it to the finals with a breathtaking performance that left fans speechless. He was bested by Sano, but it would have been some story for someone Logan Morrison discredited to challenge his own teammate in the finals.
Judge is very familiar with winning a Home Run Derby. He won the TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby in July 2012. Something tells me he will need to add some more space to his trophy case if he continues to participate in the derby. The Yankees youth movement was on full display tonight, and we could all thank Aaron Judge for that. He truly is a phenomenal athlete. We should be lucky to enjoy a player of his caliber.
Aaron Judge made a statement in Miami, one that many, including myself, will never forget. All hail the Judge!