Judge cruises to Home Run Derby championship

Yankees phenom shows power is no accident

Aaron Judge

New York Yankees rookie Aaron Judge, who has lit up MLB scoreboards in the first half of the season, proved that his power is no accident by cruising through the elite competition Monday at the All-Star Game Home Run Derby in Miami.

In the tiered eight-hitter format, Judge first faced off against Miami Marlins slugger Justin Bour, who pounded 22 homers in his time at the plate. Judge responded by hitting 23. Next came Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger and in the finals, Minnesota Twins superstar Miguel Sano. Judge easily passed all of them.

ESPN reports that Judge joins Mark McGwire of the 1992 Oakland Athletics and Ken Griffey Jr. of the 1994 Seattle Mariners as the only players to lead the majors in homers at the All-Star break and win a Derby. He also gives the Yankees the most Derby champions, joining winners Tino Martinez, Jason Giambi and Robinson Cano.

The 6 foot, 7 inch slugger weighs 280 pounds and leads the majors in homers (30), runs (75), on-base percentage (.449) and slugging (.697) as a rookie.

Judge appeared with the Yankees in 27 games last season, hitting .179.