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Aaron Judge’s favorite player is Rich Aurilia

Aurilia had a long, very good MLB career – with one exceptional season in 2001. He led the league that year with 206 hits and hit 37 homers with a .324/.369/.572 slash line. Still, many were surprised that the hulking, 6-foot-7 Judge looked up to a 6-foot, 170-pound shortstop, when Bonds and Kent were combining for nearly 100 homers every year.

“Considering that they still have a race going on, I guess, in the American League East,” Aurilia said. “He’s probably gonna play a lot and, at the worst, he’ll tie [Maris]. And for him, being a big strong guy, playing at Yankee Stadium is a huge benefit. He can just hit it out to all fields there and not even hit it well.”

Aurilia has some experience garnering votes for the MVP: In that ‘01 season, he finished 12th in the vote – putting up a 6.7 WAR (good for ninth in the National League). As a sign that times have changed, only five total players in the entire sport have put up a WAR higher than that so far this season; Judge, Ohtani, Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado and Sandy Alcantara. 

“I’ll say this: What I like about [Judge], for a big man – he’s huge – he has a pretty simple, short compact swing,” Aurilia said. “As far as comparisons, I don’t think you can really compare. I’m not saying he’s not a great player, I just think the scenarios are totally different. Bonds set in motion a lot stuff in this game that now we’re seeing change. The shifts all started with Bonds, now that’s going to be out of the game next year. Bonds is the only guy, at least in my lifetime that I can remember, that people just didn’t pitch to on a 100 percent consistent basis.”

“You’re comparing a guy who, regardless of any type of suspicion, was one of the top five players of all time,” Aurilia said. “And you have a guy who’s having one of the best seasons of all time looking to become that player. You can’t compare, I don’t think it’s fair to compare. But it sure is fun to watch.”

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