Coming off a spectacular Home Run Derby performance, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred believes New York Yankees rookie Aaron Judge has the potential to be the face of the game.
Manfred was addressing the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Tuesday ahead of the All-Star Game and called what Judge and his breakout rookie season “absolutely phenomenal.”
“I mean, there is no other word to describe it,” Manfred said via ESPN. “He is a tremendous talent on the field and really appealing off the field.”
Judge put on quite a display at this year’s Home Run Derby to win the title, hitting several 500-foot plus home run, including a 513-foot- shot in the second round while facing off against Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger.
The 25-year-old right fielder, who received the most All-Star votes of any American League player, entered the All-Star break with a major-league best 30 home runs. That already set the Yankees’ rookie record for homers in a season, breaking Joe DiMaggio’s mark.
Though Judge’s breakout season has garnered plenty of attention from marketers, the 6-foot-7, 282-pound slugger is keeping his mind on the field.
“We’ve had quite a few offers from various markets and brands. It just keeps coming every day,” said Judge’s agent, David Matranga, to ESPN. “He’s got a lot of people pulling at him, but right now Aaron just wants to keep his focus on the Yankees.”
Judge is also slashing .329/.448/.691 in his first major league season. The Yankees drafted him in the first round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of Fresno State.