Cody Bellinger and Aaron Judge have been the two most exciting players in baseball so far this season, but the party poopers at Sporting News want us all to “calm down” about it.
Monday, a day after Bellinger blasted two longballs to bring his season total to 24, Sporting News writer Jason Foster published a piece lamely titled, “Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger probably won’t hit 50 homers, so let’s calm down”.
Talk about glass half empty.
Foster rambles through his article giving redundant reasons why Bellinger and Judge “probably” won’t reach the 50-homer mark. He compares their seasons to Mark McGwire’s 1987 campaign when he had 33 homers at the All-Star break but failed to break Roger Maris’ then-record of 61.
I’ll respond to the piece’s main arguments here so you don’t have to give Sporting News a click on their desperate, attention-grabbing headline (It worked, I guess, since I’m writing this…).
Much of the baseball world has convinced itself that Judge, the Yankees’ 11-foot-tall rookie, and Cody Bellinger, the Dodgers’ rookie who has never heard of the ’90s, are near locks to reach 50 home runs this season and, at least in Judge’s case, possibly shatter the all-time rookie homer record by season’s end. What fun!
“Convinced itself” is pretty ignorant phrasing here… but yes, it’s extremely fun to watch. We’re having a blast.
Well, I’m gonna be that guy: Let’s get real, folks. It’s unlikely that either of those things is going to happen. How do I know? Well, I don’t. Both certainly could happen, but I’m pretty sure that neither actually will.
It’s unlikely, but you don’t know, but both could happen, but neither will. OK, got it. Next…
There’s a long way to go in the 2017 season. Plenty of time for natural regression, slumps, injuries and fatigue.
Fair point. No one is denying that. We’re living in the moment. Right now, there’s a real chance of Bellinger and Judge doing amazing things by season’s end. Why must we be calm about that?
Big-league history tells us that a rookie hitting 50 homers is pretty rare. So rare, in fact, that it’s never happened.
So just because something has never happened, that means it’ll never happen. Great logic here. Because there’s no way a 6-foot-7, 282-pound beast of a human like Judge can show us something we haven’t seen before in baseball. And we should totally be pessimistic about a guy like Bellinger who has 24 homers in 57 games (a ROOKIE RECORD)…..
McGwire was the baseball-media and fan darling that  season after he seemed to come out of nowhere to launch homers at a historic pace. He had 33 long balls at the All-Star break, leading many, many people to fall victim to “just double it”-itis and declare that McGwire would probably finish somewhere near 66 home runs and destroy Roger Maris’ single-season record of 61 homers. Not only was McGwire unable to maintain that torrid pace, but he fell off significantly in the second half, hitting just 16 homers to finish with 49.
McGwire “fell off significantly” so we can all count on Bellinger and Judge to “probably” do the same, folks.
And, yes, I understand that just because McGwire couldn’t do it doesn’t mean Judge and Bellinger won’t do it. Different players, different eras, different stadiums, yada, yada, yada. It’s just a call for perspective, a rebuff against What’s wrong with Aaron Judge? pieces if he’s not reached 40 homers by Aug. 31.
… you’ll read pieces proclaiming that Judge’s performance so far is on par with other 60-homer seasons of the past. But a lot of those other performances came from guys with names like Sosa, Bonds and, yes, our friend Mr. McGwire during seasons in which their home run totals were almost certainly, uh, aided. So, it’s not really a fair comparison.
Aaron Judge is uh, “aided” by the fact he’s already the size of a super mutant without the help of roids. Bellinger is uh, “aided” by being really good at hitting homers at record-setting paces. Also, what about Ryan Howard’s first full season in the bigs when he mashed 58 in 2006?
None of this is to say I want Judge and Bellinger to fail. It would be great if they’re both approaching 50 homers with a few weeks to go, creating the Great Rookie Home Run Race of 2017.
Then stop being such a debbie downer…
It would be fun to watch Judge and Bellinger take their unprecedented power show into October, but don’t expect the surge to last that long.
There’s a difference between “expecting” and “rooting for”. Saying there’s a ton of people out there “expecting” Bellinger and Judge to eclipse 50 homers is preposterous.
Anyway…just let baseball fans be excited. Don’t tell everyone to “calm down” about two of the game’s young phenoms putting on a show halfway through the year. It’s that kind of attitude holding baseball back from marketing its stars and becoming such an intriguing sport to keep tabs on throughout the 162-game season.