Yankees OF Aaron Judge is the 44th-best prospect in baseball, according to a list recently published by ESPN.com's Keith Law.
"Judge is enormous -- 6-foot-7 and listed at 275 pounds -- with a strike zone to match," Law said. "Covering the inner third and the outside corner simultaneously has been an ongoing challenge for him, with pitchers at each level commanding the ball better to exploit this issue. He has shown that he can tighten up his discipline after some time at each level, though doing so in the majors will be the hardest challenge he has faced."
Judge hit 19 homers in 93 games with Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes/Barre in 2016 but struggled after he was promoted to the Majors. The 24-year-old hit just .179 while striking out 42 times in 95 plate appearances with the Yankees.
Part of Law's commentary on Judge is something I've discussed in the past. Judge has struggled at each level as he entered it and then straightened things out in a reasonable amount of time. I have no reason to believe he cannot do the same in the big leagues.
I believe the plate appearances Judge received with New York in 2016 - regardless of the lackluster overall results - will do him a wealth of good this season. So long as Judge focuses on his swing, timing and pitch selection, his ability to exhibit immense power is undeniable.
One note of caution concerning the fans' perception of Judge's readiness; if he ends up losing the right field job in spring training, it does not mean he is destined to struggle at the Major League level. The perfect example of patience is Gary Sanchez, who was relegated to Triple-A after a rough spring training in 2016, only to battle back and show he belonged by late summer. A similar fate for Judge is perfectly acceptable.