The 2017 MLB season is half done, and what a first half it was. June yielded more home runs than any single month in MLB history. We’ve seen plenty of surprises, both positive and negative.
But now it’s time to look ahead to the second half.
What can we expect out of New York Yankees phenom Aaron Judge? What rare accomplishments should we expect out of MLB’s two western divisions? Which All-Star starter should be on the move? How many home runs will the Nationals hit? The Rangers and Cubs have been two of baseball’s most disappointing teams. Which one do we expect to turn it around? Which one do we think will stay out of the mix? What veteran team will blow the whole thing up? Which well known Minor Leaguer will get his call to the show?
We’ll answer all those questions as we make 10 bold predictions for the second half of the 2017 MLB season.
Aaron Judge wins the AL Triple Crown
When thinking of Judge, his power is the first thing that comes to mind. When he’s in the batter’s box, you have to pay attention, almost no matter where you are in the stadium.
Getting a snack on the concourse level?
— Cut4 (@Cut4) June 27, 2017
But the New York slugger has been far from this generation’s version of Dave Kingman or Adam Dunn. Granted, Judge does strike out a lot. But when he puts the ball in play, he hits it hard. He’s not up there just to swing for the fences and either strike out, homer, or pop the ball up to shortstop.
Per Fangraphs, Judge hits a line drive more than 24 percent of the time. Most of his swings go to left field, but he goes to center more than 32 percent of the time and to right more than 25 percent. That’s the sign of a good, well-rounded hitter.
The Triple Crown is rare in baseball. Miguel Cabrera’s 2012 Triple Crown was the only that either league has seen since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
While it’s close, Judge leads all three categories right now. When we consider how powerful he is, how balanced he is, the solid protection that his lineup offers him and his home park, it’s easy to see him sustaining all three leads and putting his stamp on MLB history.