Yankees Fans Boo Aaron Judge Following Four-Strikeout Performance

Yankees' star Aaron Judge confronts an early-season slump.

by Faizan Chaudhary
Yankees Fans Boo Aaron Judge Following Four-Strikeout Performance
© Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Despite a promising start to the season for the New York Yankees, reigning AL MVP Aaron Judge finds himself grappling with an unexpected slump that has raised concerns among fans. The Yankees boast a solid 14-7 record early in the season, largely buoyed by the stellar performance of Juan Soto.

However, Judge, who shattered records with 62 home runs in 2022, has not mirrored his team's success, suffering from a batting average of just .179. During Saturday's game, a 2-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays that extended into 10 innings, Judge struck out four times, an occurrence known colloquially as the "golden sombrero." This performance only intensified the scrutiny he faces, leading to audible boos from the stands at Yankee Stadium and feedback from fans who expect nothing short of excellence from the $360 million star.

Judge Responds to Boos

Responding to the crowd's reaction, Judge displayed resilience and understanding. "I've heard worse, and I’d probably do the same thing in their situation," he acknowledged, suggesting a shared sense of expectation and disappointment with the fans.

This week had hinted at a potential turnaround for Judge when he delivered a clutch, game-winning two-run single against the Toronto Blue Jays. Yet, this proved to be a brief respite in a series of underwhelming performances.

Despite these struggles, Judge's discipline at the plate remains intact; he ranks in the 99th percentile for walk rate and is adept at avoiding poor pitches. The challenge lies in capitalizing on the pitches he does choose to swing at.

The season is far from over, with over 130 games remaining, and Judge remains optimistic. "It's still early. It’s a long season," he reassured. He also mentioned the ongoing adjustments he's making, particularly in light of past injuries.

Last year, a toe injury sidelined him for 42 games, and Judge admitted that it might require "constant maintenance" throughout his career. This maintenance is crucial as he embarks on fulfilling the terms of his nine-year contract, which established him as the highest-paid position player in MLB history with an annual average salary of $40 million.

For Yankees fans and Judge alike, the hope is that his early-season struggles are just a temporary blip in what will be a long and productive season. As Judge himself emphasizes, patience is key a virtue that will determine the trajectory of his season and perhaps his career.