This isn’t a hit piece on Aaron Judge’s potential, or his impact on the game. That home run derby performance was one of the most impressive I’ve ever seen. This is simply a reality check: Mike Trout is far and away the face of baseball and it’s really not close. Discounting each players brief call-ups (40 games in 2011 for Trout and 27 games in 2016 for Judge) here’s what both men did their first 84 games:
Certainly Judge has had more power than Trout. But, the numbers would suggest Trout is the better pure hitter and Trout also has a higher oWAR. Here’s the real kicker: Trout did that at age 20, Judge is 25. As a matter of fact, Mike Trout is only 262 days older than Aaron Judge. So while Judge was enjoying his 2nd season at Fresno State, Trout was dominating the MLB.
Since that 2012 season, Trout has been by far the best player in the league. Consider this: Mike Trout, for all five of his full seasons, aged 20-25, has either won (twice) or come runner-up to the AL MVP. Who was the player finishing ahead of Trout his first two seasons? Miguel Cabrera–one of the greatest hitters of all time, having two of his career best seasons.
Aaron Judge may very well be the real deal–I don’t doubt that. We just need to pump the brakes on the “face of MLB” hype train.