It is not yet September and Aaron Judge is only 10 home runs away from tying the American League’s single-season record. Tuesday night the New York Yankees slugger and AL MVP favorite clubbed his 51st home run of the season in a win against the Los Angeles Angels. The AL record is of course 61 homers by Roger Maris in 1961.
Here is Judge’s 51st homer of 2022. He is one behind his career high set in 2017, his rookie year.
The home run race isn’t much of a race this season. Judge leads baseball with 51 homers. Coming into Tuesday, Phillies outfielder Kyle Schwarber was a distant second with 35 home runs. Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt had 33 homers and no one else has more than 31. Schwarber and Goldschmidt are the only players within 19 homers of Judge.
The Yankees are playing their 130th game Tuesday night, putting Judge on pace to hit 64 homers this year. He needs 10 homers in the team’s final 32 games to tie Maris and 11 homers to break the record. At one point earlier this year Judge hit 12 home runs in 14 games, so catching Maris is very doable. The MLB record is 73 homers by Barry Bonds in 2001.
Judge went into Tuesday’s game hitting .294/.396/.661 and leading baseball in runs, walks, RBI, total bases, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS+, and WAR in addition to homers. As a reminder, Judge rejected a $200 million contract extension in spring training and will become a free agent after the season.
The Yankees are 79-51 and own a seven-game lead in the AL East, thanks in large part to Judge.