The fascination with Aaron Judge extends well beyond the New York area. On Tuesday Major League Baseball announced the current totals in All-Star Game balloting and the Yankees’ phenom has surpassed the Angels’ Mike Trout to stand as the AL’s top vote-getter.
Judge, who has an MLB-leading 18 homers, could become only the third Yankees rookie to start an All-Star Game, joining Joe DiMaggio and Hideki Matsui.
“I think people are recognizing what he’s doing and people are like ‘wow, I want to see this kid,’” manager Joe Girardi said.“Because a lot of people don’t get to see him every day and his personality is resonating with fans around the country and the way he plays the game.
“You’ve got a defensive end diving for fly balls into the stands, on the ground, in the gap, running the bases . . . People are recognizing what he is doing and want to see more.”
He was worth watching in the 5-4 loss to Boston at the Stadium. He extended his career-best hitting streak to nine games with a first-inning single and crashed into the wall while making a terrific catch of a Jackie Bradley Jr. drive in the second inning.
“It’s been a while since we’ve been home so I kind of forgot where the wall was, but I’m OK,” Judge said.
It wasn’t all good, though he did add a walk and a double: Judge struck out on three pitches from closer Craig Kimbrel to end the game.
In the vote tallies Judge had 1,251,543 and Trout had 1,155,356, but both trail Washington’s Bryce Harper, who had 1,459,235.
Judge was typically unassuming when asked about overtaking the two-time MVP.
“It’s cool, but I have a job to do on the field so I am more focused on that,” he said. “If I take care of that, the other stuff will take care of itself.”
Judge is hitting .328 with 44 runs scored and 41 RBIs. Trout was lost for six-to-eight weeks for thumb surgery after a torrid start that included a .337 average and a , MLB-leading 1.203 OPS. Though there are more than 100 games left, they were seen as the frontrunners in early discussions about the AL MVP.
“I was not anticipating Aaron Judge, in his first full season in the big leagues, being in the conversation as a potential MVP candidate,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “We’re only a third into the season, but it’s been a special start.”
After his call-up last season, Judge hit four homers in 27 games, but had 42 strikeouts in 84 at-bats. His transformation into a hitter with a .429 on-base percentage even struck Red Sox manager John Farrell.
“What’s been impressive to watch is his ability on both sides of the baseball,” Farrell said. “Defensively he’s done a great job. We saw him just for the two games earlier this year and we know he’s a big, strong righthanded power bat that’s seemingly closed up some holes in his swing that might have been there when he first came to the big leagues. He’s transitioned quick and is a major threat.”
A full look at the MLB All-Star Game vote leaders at each position for the American League:
1. Salvador Perez, Royals (692,867)
2. Welington Castillo, Orioles (543,146)
3. Brian McCann, Astros (512,077)
4. Gary Sanchez, Yankees (461,152)
5. Yan Gomes, Indians (381,178)
1. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers (475,826)
2. Yonder Alonso, Athletics (433,570)
3. Carlos Santana, Indians (420,336)
4. Eric Hosmer, Royals (399,545)
5. Yuli Gurriel, Astros (336,117)
1. Jose Altuve, Astros (998,107)
2. Starlin Castro, Yankees (778,699)
3. Jason Kipnis, Indians (402,228)
4. Robinson Cano, Mariners (248,739)
5. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox (213,804)
1. Miguel Sano, Twins (638,952)
2. Jose Ramirez, Indians (541,040)
3. Manny Machado, Orioles (520,116)
4. Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays (332,287)
5. Alex Bregman, Astros (305,348)
1. Francisco Lindor, Indians (842,166)
2. Carlos Correa, Astros (662,124)
3. Didi Gregorius, Yankees (397,326)
4. Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox (389,541)
5. Jean Segura, Mariners (240,665)
1. Nelson Cruz, Mariners (615,955)
2. Matt Holliday, Yankees (460,355)
3. Edwin Encarnacion, Indians (447,275)
4. Corey Dickerson, Rays (446,121)
5. Evan Gattis, Astros (326,584)
1. Aaron Judge, Yankees (1,251,543)
2. Mike Trout, Angels (1,155,356)
3. Michael Brantley, Indians (554,620)
4. Mookie Betts, Red Sox (519,146)
5. Avisail Garcia, White Sox (479,349)
6. Andrew Benintendi, Red Sox (416,461)
7. George Springer, Astros (413,115)
8. Carlos Beltran, Astros (370,951)
9. Brett Gardner, Yankees (364,493)
10. Lonnie Chisenhall, Indians (348,816)
11. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays (330,904)
12. Adam Jones, Orioles (327,983)
13. Abraham Almonte, Indians (302,402)
14. Josh Reddick, Astros (289,942)
15. Jacoby Ellsbury, Yankees (269,974)