Aaron Judge has quickly become a fan favorite in the Bronx. It helped that he got them on his side in a hurry, with a home run in his first career at-bat last August 13. And hitting 10 home runs in April as the Yankees are in a surprising tie for first place hasn’t hurt either. Judge has also been modest as opposed to some young players who act like God’s gift to baseball.
Girardi was asked if Judge reminded him of anyone. The manager thought for a few moments, almost as if he didn’t want to burden Judge with the pressure of a comparison to the former Yankee captain.
“He’s a little like Derek, to me,” Girardi said. “He’s got a smile all the time, he loves to play the game. You always think that he’s going to do the right thing on the field and off the field. When you look at it, he’s got a presence about him. He plays to win the game all the time and that’s the most important thing. It’s not about what you did that day.”
Comparisons to Jeter aren’t just thrown around, but Girardi has an interesting perspective, having been a teammate of Jeter’s during the early years of the shortstop’s career. “I understand that’s a big comparison,” Girardi said. “But I remember Derek when he was young. And he grew into that leadership role. That was Derek. Derek loved to have fun, and laughed to laugh, and loved to play the game, and always had a smile on his face, and was energetic. And that’s what I see from this kid. And I see him doing things the right way, on the field and off the field.”
High praise for sure. The manager recalled his impression of Judge when he came up last year.
“He seemed like a really respectful kid, and he seemed down to earth,” Girardi said. The manager added that it shouldn’t be a surprise when a young player is quiet around a bunch of Yankee superstars.
Another positive is that Judge seems like a player that won’t be overwhelmed by New York City. There is the story about how Buck Showalter said that Jeter will never embarrass the organization after initially meeting Jeter and his parents. The Yankees would love to see Judge keep that calm demeanor.
“He had a quietness about him that you felt like he would be able to handle it,” Girardi said.