Aaron Judge Draws Within 5 of Mark McGwire's Rookie Home Run Record

Bleacher Report MilestonesB/R StaffSeptember 19, 2017

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 18:  Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees watches his solo homerun in the bottom of the first inning against the Minnesota Twins on September 18, 2017 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo By Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images

New York Yankees rookie right fielder Aaron Judge cranked a solo shot off of Minnesota Twins starter Ervin Santana during the first inning of Tuesday's 2-1 victory.

Tuesday's bomb marked Judge's 44th of the season, moving him within five of tying Mark McGwire (49 homers) for the most ever by a player in his rookie season, per ESPN Stats & Info. The 25-year-old has 12 more games—assuming he doesn't sit one out—to collect the five homers required to tie.

Judge put his immense power on display early, hitting 10 home runs in April and 27 through the first three months of the season. He added three more in the early portions of July to finish the first half with 30 round-trippers.

The 6'7", 282-pound right fielder made an even bigger name for himself during the 2017 Home Run Derby, winning the competition with ease by besting Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano in the final round.

Although his home run pace has slowed in the second half of the campaign, Judge has still recorded 14 over 205 second-half at-bats to reach his current total. He continues to rack up RBI as well, sitting just three shy of reaching 100 for the campaign.

Judge's biggest drawback remains his struggle to consistently put the bat on the ball. Despite hitting .329 in the first half of the season, Judge struck out in 36.2 percent of his at-bats, a number that would surely lead to a second-half regression.

That regression has hit hard, with Judge's strikeout percentage rising to 43.4 percent with pitchers making adjustments for the towering slugger. His batting average in the second half is just .195, though his 54 walks still keep his on-base percentage at a respectable .363 mark.

Judge appears destined to join the ranks of some of the pure power-hitters in baseball, evidenced by his historic rookie campaign. Although his career batting average may settle lower than where it currently rests (.275), his enormous power and eye at the plate will likely keep him as a staple in the Yankees' lineup for years to come.

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