Judge stands at 60 home runs and is on pace to end up in the mid 60s. That means he’ll likely end up far ahead of the longtime American League record of 61 homers by Roger Maris.
Whether or not you believe those other records are legitimate, what can’t be argued with is that records like Bonds’ happened during an era in which home runs flew out of the park faster than a Concorde jet. When Bonds hit 73 home runs in 2001, Sosa hit 64. When Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs in 1998, Sosa hit 66.
Right now, Judge is 20 home runs ahead of his nearest competitor, Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Kyle Schwarber. Judge stands out not just for overall total, but for how much of an outlier his performance is compared to the competition.
Of course, Judge doesn’t stick out merely for his home run prowess. He’s as close to the complete package as a hitter as you can find.
Mantle’s 1956 season is the sole one among the 50+ home run seasons in which the player also led his league — American or National — in batting average and RBIs (runs batted in).
You might make the argument, however, that metrics such as batting average and RBIs are outdated in the age of advanced statistics. No worries, if you’re someone trying to explain how amazing Judge’s season has been, there’s evidence for that as well.
Take a look at a few of the stats that are generally preferred by wonks of the game. Judge is ahead of everyone else in on-base percentage (OBP), slugging percentage, on-base plus slugging percentage (OBPS), wins above replacement (WAR) and so on.
The bottom line is Judge’s season is excellent no matter how you look at it.
Baseball was the clear fan favorite back when Maris hit 61 home runs. It was a clear second place when McGwire broke Maris’ mark.
I can only imagine how much more press Judge would be getting if his historic season was taking place when many Americans actually cared about the game. Maybe, Judge’s season will help revive baseball in the tiniest way and — while I can think of millions of other things I’d rather see than a Yankee succeed — that’s something I can live with.