New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is the most prolific long-ball hitter in MLB at the moment, but he doesn't plan on showcasing his talents in this year's Home Run Derby.
"Nope. No need, I already did it once," Judge told Peter Botte of the New York Post on Thursday. "I’m all good with that."
Judge had won the Home Run Derby as a rookie in 2017, launching 47 total moonshots to become the fourth Yankee ever to win the event. But his performance during the competition had an adverse effect on his play for the remainder of the season, as he batted .185 in August and was slowed by a shoulder injury that required arthroscopic surgery that offseason.
This season, Judge leads the majors with 25 home runs and is on a 162-game pace of 65, per Botte, which would surpass Roger Maris' franchise record of 61. He is the early front-runner for American League MVP, as he also leads MLB in runs (53), slugging percentage (.683) and OPS (1.067). Behind Judge's scorching start, the Yankees have the best record in the league at 46-16.
The 30-year-old Judge is set to become a free agent this year after turning down the Yankees' seven-year, $213.5 million contract offer during the offseason. He will also be the subject of an arbitration hearing next Wednesday to determine his salary for 2022. Judge is seeking $21 million while the Yankees are countering at $17 million, but those numbers were submitted prior to the start of the season.
"We haven’t heard nothing. I’m preparing for us to go to court, that’s the plan," Judge said when asked about the possibility of settling before the hearing. "That’s what you prepare for, that’s why you have a team [of agents] for, to get you ready for that. We’re looking forward to it. All we gotta do is get ready for the hearing, and if they come to us, they come to us. We’ll see what happens."