Though just a rookie, Aaron Judge is already doing legendary things. The New York Yankees slugger is treating baseballs more like golf balls, launching them into unexplored places.
In batting practice for the T-Mobile Home Run Derby in Miami on Monday, Judge belted a moonshot that might have landed in space if not for the roof of Marlins Park getting in the way. With an exit velocity of 116 mph and a launch angle of 41 degrees, the ball would have gone 463 feet, according to Statcast.
But the “Roofshot Heard ‘Round the World” was merely a warmup for what was to come. The 6-7, 282-pound strongman knocked 47 balls over the fence, four of which traveled 500-plus feet.
The crowd of 37,027 roared as Judge, looking more like he was swinging a 5-iron, mashed one ball 513 feet and another 504.
513 feet later, Aaron Judge had the longest home run of the derby pic.twitter.com/GqWmviMepe— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) July 11, 2017
When Judge finally stopped swinging and collected his winning trophy — first ever by a rookie — his tape-measure blasts added up to 3.9 miles of distance.
The 25-year-old Judge delivered off the field, too. His presence gave the competition its best TV ratings since 2009. The ESPN telecast peaked with a 6.2 rating and on average was up 38 percent over last year.
“Aaron Judge is amazing,” Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna told ESPN. “That kid is freaking unbelievable. He’s huge. I’ve never seen a guy hit like that, except for Stanton. Nobody can beat him. He jammed himself and hit it in the upper deck in center field. That’s unbelievable.”
Earlier in the season, Judge hit a home run 496 feet, the longest since ESPN began tracking long balls in 2009. Only Giancarlo Stanton and Wladimir Balentien have surpassed 490 feet during that time.
Yesterday: Hardest hit HR (121 mph)
Today: Longest HR (495 feet)
A weekend in the life of Aaron Judge pic.twitter.com/2jLbaBXv4m
— SI MLB (@si_mlb) June 11, 2017
And, Babe Ruth, the Sultan of Swat himself, was said to have hit a ball 575 feet when eyes and mouths were the only tracking devices.
Well, Judge’s power performance last night might have fallen short of the other legendary Yankee pinstripers, but, compared to his competition, the results were nonetheless Ruthian.