Aaron Judge: Will there be a decline in power in 2018?

Yankees slugger Aaron Judge put on a show in 2017. Is this something fantasy owners should expect again or will there be a power dropoff?

The New York Yankees and its fans were not expecting the season they got overall and from rookie Aaron Judge. In what many thought to be a rebuilding year turned out to be a season one win away from making the World Series. Should we expect another season like that from Judge in 2018?

Judge was a 22nd round pick in standard leagues, 212.3 ESPN ADP. There was very little to analyze from his short stint in 2016. He played just 27 games and hit four home runs with 10 RBIs, a .179 average and 42 strikeouts.

Judge flipped the switch and put on a show that would have dominated any other year. However, his new teammate Giancarlo Stanton overshadowed him just a bit. In 155 games, Judge crushed 52 homers, 114 RBIs and scored 128 runs with a .284 average.

The only negative was his 208 strikeouts. So, if you play in a points league that scores negatively for strikeouts, Judge was your worst enemy. Other than that, he was one of the best overall hitters in the league. He finished as the No. 6 hitter and No. 12 overall on the Player Rater.

Even with most of the numbers leaning in favor of Judge, I am not entering this season projecting another 50-home run season from Judge. Not that he can’t do it but because of how rare back-to-back 50 HR seasons are. The last one to accomplish it was Alex Rodriguez in 2001 and 2002.

Let’s look at the previous six hitters to hit 50 home runs in a season and how they followed up the following year. First up, Ryan Howard in 2006.

He hit 58 HR/149 RBI. He hit 47/136 and 48/146 in the next two years. The downside was that his batting average dropped from .313 to .268 and .251 respectively. The power was still there and he was very close to posting three straight 50-home runs seasons.

David Ortiz also reached that mark in 2006. He hit 54/137/.287. While hit average went up to .332, the power didn’t come back. He hit 35/117 and Ortiz never reached 40 home runs for the rest of his career.

A-Rod did it for a third time in 2007 but also failed to reach even 36 home runs in his remaining eight seasons. Prince Fielder hit 50 in the same season. He hit 34 and 46 in his next two seasons. Unfortunately, injuries caught up to Fielder and ended his career.

Jose Bautista hit 54 homers in 2010. He followed it up with another 43. Since then, he’s reached 40 home runs just one more time and his batting average has also fallen. Chris Davis is the final name on the list. He hit 53 in 2013 and hit 47 two years later. However, he is another 200+ strikeout hitter with a low batting average. Plenty of them to be drafted.

After going through a time machine, it’s safe to say that Judge will have another good season. But the odds of him posting a second 50-home run season are not in his favor.

Judge is currently expected to be drafted in the middle of the second round in most leagues. If he can keep up his batting average while crushing another 40 home runs with Stanton and Gary Sanchez protecting him, I think that’s a safe investment.

While there may be a drop in power, going from 52 to 40 isn’t the worst thing that could happen to Judge.