Aaron Judge’s dominance of Major League Baseball isn’t limited to the batter’s box. Though the New York Yankees right fielder has made his name behind a powerful swing that has produced some of the most majestic home runs in recent memory, he can truly do it all.
That includes playing defense.
In fact, perhaps Judge’s most underrated physical tool is a powerful and accurate throwing arm that would make many of the game’s best pitchers jealous.
Judge has shown off his rocket arm many times in the past. However, he took it to another level Friday night when he unleashed a pair of critical outfield assists. The first of which registered at a remarkable 100.5 mph, which made it the hardest throw of the MLB season and of Judge’s MLB career.
What did Judge’s first incredible assist mean for the Yankees?
.@TheJudge44 with a LASER.
This throw was over 100 mph! pic.twitter.com/DXxweIYT47
— MLB (@MLB) May 26, 2018
The Los Angeles Angels were threatening to tie Friday’s game at Yankee Stadium when Judge first went into action.
Kole Calhoun was the runner at second base when Justin Upton drove a clean single through the right side of New York’s infield in the third inning. With the short porch in right field, Judge didn’t have far to go to meet Upton’s hit. He came charging in hard, scooped the ball cleanly and then effortlessly unleashed a missile that catcher Gary Sanchez caught in the air.
The execution was flawless, and that’s exactly how it had to be. Even with Judge doing everything right, Sanchez only had enough time to turn and tag Calhoun out. A slight bobble on Judge’s part, a bounce on the throw, or even a few less mph, might have changed the outcome on this play and the game for New York.
The Yankees held the lead and would go on to win 2-1 on Gleyber Torres’ seventh-inning solo home run.
Where does Judge’s throw rank among the hardest recorded?
According to Statcast, it’s the hardest throw made by an outfielder in MLB this season. Judge actually topped himself on this one.
Re: Aaron Judge's 100.5 mph throw from right field to home plate …
Per @statcast it is the hardest throw by any position player this season. Second on that list? Judge's 99.9 mph throw May 11 vs. Oakland.
— Coley Harvey (@ColeyHarvey) May 26, 2018
We’ve seen MLB outfielders make harder throws in the past. In fact, Aaron Hicks, one of Judge’s teammates with the Yankees, unleashed a 105-mph throw in 2016. But that doesn’t make Judge’s throw any less impressive.
How important was Judge’s other outfield assist?
The 100.5 mph assist at home plate was the jewel, but it wasn’t Judge’s only great throw Friday night.
A few innings later, Judge scooped a Martin Maldonado would-be double out of the corner and effortlessly fired another perfect strike to second base to cut him down.
Maldonado was representing the go-ahead run at the time of his hit. Judge’s first throw is impossible to beat, but both assists were vitally important in this Yankees win.
Which is more impressive: A 470-foot homer or 100-mph throw?
That’s for everyone to decide on their own.
If you can do both though like Aaron Judge, then you are truly a next level baseball player.
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