Can Aaron Judge Follow Derby Win with AL MVP and Triple Crown?

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, July 11, 2017 2:00 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jul. 11, 2017 2:00 PM UTC

Arguably the biggest player story line of the first half of the 2017 baseball season has been towering Yankees rookie outfielder Aaron Judge. Could he make history by winning a Triple Crown?

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First, HR Derby King, Next …

If New York Yankees rookie outfielder wasn’t already the talk of Major League Baseball in 2017, he surely was after impressively winning Monday’s All-Star Home Run Derby in Miami. Judge hit 47 bombs at Marlins Park, including four of at least 500 feet. He joined Mark McGwire of the 1992 Oakland Athletics and Ken Griffey Jr. of the 1994 Seattle Mariners as the third player to be leading the majors in homers at the All-Star break and win a Derby. Judge was the first rookie winner.

Baseball has simply never seen a specimen like the 6-foot-7, 280-pound Judge. There have been tall dudes and fat dudes in the game, but not someone who looks like an NFL tight end without an ounce of fat. Think LeBron James playing baseball.

At the break, Judge leads the majors with 30 homers and is second in the American League with 66 RBIs and third in batting average at .329. In baseball history, there have been 17 occasions where a player won a Triple Crown in his league. It hasn’t happened since the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera topped the AL in 2012 with a .330 average, 44 dingers and 139 RBIs. Before that, it hadn’t occurred since Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.

BetOnline offers a prop on Judge winning the Triple Crown: yes is +600 and no -1000. And you have to bet no here. Will Judge lead the AL in homers? There’s a good shot, and he’s +145 on that prop (no is -175). Judge is three ahead of No. 2 George Springer of Houston. Judge led the league in RBIs most of the season but has been passed by Seattle’s Nelson Cruz, who has 66. Still, I can see Judge winning that.

Where the rookie is going to come up short is in batting average. He’s 18 points behind AL leader Jose Altuve of Houston. I just don’t see how a guy with this type of power keeps hitting around .330. Remember, Judge hit just .179 in 84 at-bats in 2016 (few enough to keep his rookie status).

Judge is currently the -300 favorite for AL MVP. He’s clearly the first-half one as he looks to join Fred Lynn (1975 Red Sox) and Ichiro Suzuki (2001 Mariners) as the only players to win an MVP and Rookie of the Year in the same season.

Yes, it helped Judge’s case that Angels star and two-time AL MVP Mike Trout got hurt in late May and hasn’t played since. He is set to return to the majors Friday. Trout would be another guy Judge will have to deal with for the AL batting title as Trout is hitting .337, although he’s not currently qualified. He will be barring another injury. Trout is +1400 on the MVP prop now but has likely been gone too long to win another.

The closest player on the MLB betting prop to Judge for AL MVP is Houston shortstop Carlos Correa at +400. He’s fourth in the AL in average (.325), ninth in homers (20) and third in RBIs (65). Correa could split votes with his teammate Altuve, who is +600 on the MVP prop.

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