Dodgers. Yankees. East coast. West coast. Lefty. Righty.
There are some striking differences between the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger and the Yankees’ Aaron Judge.
The 6’7”, 282-pound Judge is built like a defensive end that plays on Sundays in the fall, while Bellinger is a lanky 210 pounds stretched out on a 6’4” frame.
The similarities begin and end with what these rookies are doing to major league pitching.
Power. Destruction. Dominance.
Judge has mashed a major league-leading 24 home runs in only 245 at-bats so far this season, while racking up a .331 average and driving in 54 runs. Judge’s power numbers are impressive, but his other numbers are currently in Triple Crown territory.
Bellinger has slugged 22 homers and driven in 49 runs since his call-up in late April, and only trails Judge by two homers despite 45 less plate appearances.
Both players have helped spark the Dodgers and Yankees to the top of their divisions, as youth is being served on a nightly basis to ballparks nationwide.
As exciting as the two electric sensations have been so far this year, they are still a couple of young kids making their first trips throughout the league.
One of Judge’s weaknesses so far has been the lack of production away from Yankee stadium. Judge’s batting average on the road dips nearly .100 points, and his slugging percentage drops more than .300 points down to .535.
Bellinger’s strikeout rate is something the Dodgers have to be concerned with. In his first 200 at-bats, Bellinger has sat down on strikes 67 times. As long as the baseball continues to leave the yard, the club can deal with a high K rate, but these sorts of numbers are both alarming and slump-inducing.
It will be interesting to see the cat-and-mouse games between the young sluggers and pitching staffs across both leagues, as the season heats up and heads down the stretch this fall. Will these kids fall off or will they continue to dominate?
Fans are hoping to see the two forces collide in the Home Run Derby this July, and expect Major League Baseball to jump on this opportunity to showcase their talented newcomers.
Whether you prefer Judge or Bellinger is really about personal choice, and so far this year you can’t go wrong.