Yankees' Aaron Judge mashes 32nd homer of 2024, builds case for American League Triple Crown honors

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The New York Yankees dropped their series opener 5-4 to the visiting Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night, but the leading subplot of any Yanks game lately – win or lose – is the ongoing dominance of slugger Aaron Judge. This game was no exception. 

In defeat, Judge went 3-for-4 and launched his 32nd home run of the season: 

As recently noted in this very space, Judge is on pace to threaten his own American League record for most home runs in a season – 62 in 2022. As you saw above, Judge hit his 32nd of this season on July 2. Back in 2022, he didn’t record No. 32 until July 16, so in that regard, he’s ahead of his record pace. 

Now, there’s another “possible Judge appointment with history” to eyeball from afar – the coveted Triple Crown. Indeed, as of Tuesday night’s performance, Judge is now leading the majors (and thus the AL) in batting average (.321), home runs (32), and RBI (83). Those, of course, are the constituents of the hitter’s Triple Crown. The last to win it was Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers in 2012. Prior to that, it was Carl Yastrzemski of the Red Sox in 1967. No National League batsman has pulled it off since the Cardinals’ Joe Medwick in 1937. 

What Judge is doing more than halfway through the regular season is deeply impressive, but we are duty-bound to note that it’s highly unlikely he’ll win the Triple Crown. That’s because Guardians outfielder Steven Kwan is batting .362. He’s not considered the leader in that category because he hasn’t yet achieved qualifying status thanks to a hamstring strain that cost him more than three weeks. Soon, though, Kwan will reach a qualifying number of plate appearances, and that means he’ll hold a huge lead over Judge in batting average – i.e., one of the three Triple Crown categories for hitters. Still, why not play it as it lies and put him alongside Shohei Ohtani on your Triple Crown watch-list?

No matter how that vision quest plays out, Judge is well on his way to yet another legendary season. He overcame a slow start to the season, which was probably the result of a spring abdominal injury, and now owns a sky-scraping OPS of 1.158, which is more than 100 points higher than Ohtani’s NL-leading OPS. Maybe the Triple Crown will prove elusive, but Judge seems headed for AL MVP honors for the second time in his career. That’s to say nothing of, oh, 63 homers or so as well.

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