Monday, May 20, 2024

Aaron Judge ejection: Yankees star tossed for first time in MLB career vs. Tigers


New York Yankees star outfielder Aaron Judge was ejected during Saturday’s 5-3 victory against the Detroit Tigers (box score) for the first time in his MLB career. 

Judge’s ousting occurred during the bottom of the seventh inning when he was rung up on a 3-2 fastball from Tigers lefty Tyler Holton. Judge took exception to the call and voiced his displeasure toward home-plate umpire Ryan Blakney. Evidently, Judge said the magic words because he was ejected by Blakney on his way to the Yankees dugout.

Here’s a look at the pitch in question in moving picture form:

Borderline, right? Indeed, here’s the same pitch according to Baseball Savant’s strike-zone chart:


Baseball Savant

You can understand Judge’s annoyance, but it appears that part of the ball did catch the strike zone. 

On the afternoon, Judge went 2 for 4 with a double and a run batted in as part of a Yankees victory. Judge, 32, had entered Saturday in the midst of an uncharacteristically slow start to the season. Over his first 34 games, he’d hit .200/.336/.392 with six home runs, 18 RBI, and two stolen bases. 

Judge’s 109 OPS+ would represent the lowest full-season mark of his career should it maintain — and that’s no certainty, given he entered the weekend ranked in the 99th percentile in average exit velocity and in the 85th percentile in barrel rate.

It’s worth noting that Judge has always faced a misshaped strike zone compared to his peers. A few years back, Esteban Rivera examined how Judge was particularly prone to being called out on pitches beneath the rulebook strike zone. With that in mind, it’s remarkable, at least in a sense, that Saturday served as his first ever ejection. In fact, it was the first time a Yankees captain had been ejected since Don Mattingly on May 13, 1994.

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