62 home runs. That is the statistic that will rightfully be remembered from Aaron Judge's MVP 2022 season. However, there is one underlying stat that suggests Judge could have another monster performance in 2023, per MLB.com.
According to Statcast, Aaron Judge led MLB with a 26.5 barrel percentage. Barrel percentage, or barrel rate, measures how often a batter hits the baseball with the sweet-spot of the bat. Hitters who post high barrel rates tend to fare extremely well. It means they are likely crushing the baseball on a consistent basis, and it is safe to say that is exactly what Aaron Judge did in 2022.
One could even make the argument that Yankees fans should be more excited about this statistic than Judge's 62 home runs for the 2023 season. Aaron Judge will produce at an elite level once again if he can maintain a similar barrel rate in 2023.
It should be noted that pitchers will make adjustments and try to find Judge's weakness. But he's a good enough hitter to make necessary adjustments of his own.
There is no question that Judge had a spectacular year in 2022. In addition to crushing home runs, he also inked a $360 million contract to stay with the Yankees. Additionally, Judge was recently named the AP Male Athlete of the Year.
In the end, Aaron Judge and the Yankees have their sights set on winning the World Series. Anything less will ultimately be regarded as a failure. But World Series or not, Aaron Judge is making a serious case for himself as the best player in baseball.