NEW YORK — With the September stretch run in full force, this much has become crystal clear: The Yankees will go as far as Aaron Judge will carry them.
The 30-year-old superstar, who entered Monday with an 8.5 WAR — the highest among all Major League players, per Fangraphs — is doing everything in his power to ensure that this season’s sky-high expectations come to fruition in the Bronx.
With “M-V-P” chants bellowing down from the Yankee Stadium crowd, Judge homered for the third consecutive game, launching his 54th homer of the season, a go-ahead two-run blast in the sixth inning that led to a 5-2 win over the Twins.
Judge’s long ball traveled a Statcast-projected 404 feet at an exit velocity of 109.6 mph off Twins righty reliever Trevor Megill, and it countered former Yankee Gary Sánchez’s 473-foot moonshot to the same part of the ballpark one frame earlier. It also pushed Judge into a tie with Alex Rodriguez (circa 2007) for the most home runs in a single season by a right-handed batter in Yankees history.
Judge, whose blistering pace has put him in position to break Roger Maris’ American League record of 61, is now on track to hit 65 home runs before the season is done.