Rob Manfred Says Aaron Judge Could Become the Face of MLB

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 11, 2017

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge smiles after his last at bat after winning the MLB baseball All-Star Home Run Derby, Monday, July 10, 2017, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

After dazzling fans in the the 2017 Home Run Derby on Monday night, New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge has earned high praise from Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred. 

At an event with the Baseball Writers' Association of America on Tuesday (via ESPN.com), Manfred said Judge is a player "who can become the face of the game."

"He is a tremendous talent on the field and really appealing off the field," said Manfred.

Judge was already MLB's breakout star of 2017 before the Home Run Derby. The Yankees rookie leads the majors with 30 homers, a .448 on-base percentage and a .691 slugging percentage, and his .329 batting average ranks fifth. 

Adding to his legend at Marlins Park on Monday night, Judge won the 2017 Home Run Derby with a total of 47 homers in three rounds, including hitting one 513 feet. 

MLB has many marketable stars to build around, including Bryce Harper, Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw, but no one who has really caught on nationally like Derek Jeter once did. Alex Dowd of Fox Sports ranked the 30 most marketable athletes in the world in February, with zero MLB players making the cut. 

Judge doesn't have Jeter's Hall-of-Fame resume at this early stage of his career, but he's got the New York market behind him and has become one of the must-see stars in MLB after just 86 games this season. 

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