Fantasy baseball season is right around the corner, so it’s time to take a look at some of MLB’s premier options for this upcoming season. Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge proved to be an otherworldly talent last season, as the reigning AL MVP was one of the game’s top two players in fantasy alongside Angels DH/RHP Shohei Ohtani. Heading into 2023, what’s in store for Aaron Judge this season?
Related: 2023 Fantasy Profile: Shohei Ohtani
A Look at Judge
There’s not much that needs to be said about Aaron Judge‘s 2022 season. The four-time All-Star proved to be the best hitter in fantasy last season thanks an outstanding campaign at the plate. Judge smacked 62 home runs for the Yankees, a total that now stands as the American League record for most in a single season. The Yankees outfielder led all of baseball in OBP (.425), OPS (1.111), and total bases. Judge also finished in a tie for first in RBIs, alongside Mets infielder Pete Alonso.
Judge did strike out a bit in 2022, as the 30-year-old posted a below-average 25.1% K%. That figure, though, marked a 3.6% improvement from his career average. The new Yankees captain will strike out more than one would like, but his power and contact ability more than make up for it. It’s also important to mention Judge also walked an AL-high 111 times last season. Judge has proven to be an extremely dangerous hitter, so it’s not a shock to see the star outfielder see a large amount of pitches out of the zone. Expect much of the same in 2023, which should be a boon in leagues that do take walks into account.
Aside from an AL pennant and World Series, Judge essentially won every accolade possible: an All-Star appearance, an AL Silver Slugger, the AL Hank Aaron Award, and the 2022 AL MVP. Now, it’s time to see what Judge can do for an encore.
2023 Fantasy Preview
Judge’s record-breaking season was truly incredible, but it is wise to tamper down expectations somewhat for Judge come 2023. Now, it’s not to say that #99 can’t put up impressive power numbers this season. In fact, it’s highly likely that should Judge stay healthy, the four-time All-Star should record at least 40 home runs.
Judge possesses arguably the best power tool in the game, and the fact that the Yankees outfielder is set to play half of his games in the hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium once again helps his value immensely. Looking back at past seasons, Judge cracked 39 home runs in 2021. And, he could have easily hit a 40th had the 30-year-old played more than 148 games. Injuries cost Judge a good chunk of time in 2019 and 2020, the former of which saw Judge play to a 42 home run pace. Based on precedent, at least 40 home runs is within the realm of possibility once again.
The reigning AL MVP should be a high-prized source for home runs, RBIs, and walks for those who play in leagues that incorporate that stat. Sure, it’s fair to be concerned about RBI opportunities for Judge after a strange 2022 season for the Yankees offense. However, that shouldn’t stop Judge from accruing at least 100.
Ohtani may well be the consensus top pick in most leagues, but Judge won’t be far behind. In fact, it would be a shock if the star slugger fell below #2 in drafts.