Will New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge break the American League’s single-season record for home runs? With Judge at 60 homers entering Thursday’s game versus the Boston Red Sox, he is just one shy of the mark set by Roger Maris in 1961.
But talking about just home runs in regards to Judge doesn’t give you the full picture of his sublime 2022 campaign. He has become a complete hitter and is in a great position to win a Triple Crown this year as well.
A Triple Crown occurs when a player finishes a season leading either the American League or National League in batting average, home runs and RBI. Here is where Judge ranks among AL hitters in each of those categories entering Sept. 22:
Batting average: 317 (1st — percentage points ahead of the Red Sox’s Xander Bogaerts)
Home runs: 60 (1st — 23 ahead of the Astros’ Yordan Alvarez)
RBI: 128 (1st — 13 ahead of the Guardians’ Jose Ramirez)
Judge has had a healthy lead in homers and RBI for a while, but he has made a mad dash toward a batting title only recently. He’s hitting an obscene .492 (30-for-61) over his previous 16 games.
If Judge can finish atop of each category once the regular season ends on Oct. 5, he will become the first player since the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera (2012) to win a Triple Crown. Prior to that, no player had accomplished this difficult feat since the Red Sox’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
Here is the full list of 10 players who have won a Triple Crown since RBI became an official statistic in 1920:
2012: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
1967: Carl Yastrzemski, Red Sox
1966: Frank Robinson, Orioles
1956: Mickey Mantle, Yankees
1947: Ted Williams, Red Sox
1942: Ted Williams, Red Sox
1937: Joe Medwick, Cardinals
1934: Lou Gehrig, Yankees
1933: Jimmie Foxx, Athletics
1933: Chuck Klein, Phillies
1925: Rogers Hornsby, Cardinals
1922: Rogers Hornsby, Cardinals
Of course, even if a Triple Crown isn’t in the cards for Judge, he has already made history as the sixth different player to reach the 60-homer plateau in a single season. And of that crew, only three players — Barry Bonds in 2001; Sammy Sosa in 2001 and 1998; Babe Ruth in 1927 — finished the season with a batting average of .300 or higher.
Unless Judge falls into a bad slump over the year’s final couple of weeks, he’ll become the fourth member of that club. He’s also the heavy favorite to take home AL MVP honors at -10000 per DraftKings Sportsbook. So he’s got that going for him, too. Which is nice.