2 driving forces behind success of Yanks prospect Aaron Judge

Written By kom nampuldu on Rabu, 11 Maret 2015 | 18.18

TAMPA — For Yankees top hitting prospect Aaron Judge, the miracle already has happened.

No matter what baseball has in store for the massive Judge, who is just 22, grace has touched his life.

Judge knows that, and so do his parents, Patty and Wayne Judge, two recently retired teachers from Linden, Calif.

Walk through the Yankees clubhouse and you will notice Judge quickly has made an impact — not only with his ability and his disciplined, yet powerful approach to hitting, but with the way he carries himself.

Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, a man who knows something about the gift of being able to launch a baseball, said this about Judge: "He's got power like [Willie] Stargell. He's got outstanding plate discipline. It's nice to see him at home plate with a 3-1 count.''

Judge, 6-foot-7, 275 pounds, is ticketed for Double-A Trenton to start the year. Whenever the outfielder gets to The Bronx, you can be sure his parents will be there to enjoy the moment. Patty retired two years ago. Wayne retired this year. Both were physical education teachers.

"My parents are amazing, they've taught me so many lessons,'' Aaron said. "I honestly can't thank them enough for what they've done for me.''

"It's been off-the-charts fun seeing Aaron play. We've tried to make it to the first of this or the first of that,'' Patty said Tuesday. "Aaron has a pretty good compass. At a young age, he knew the difference between right or wrong.''

His parents saw his first Yankees spring training home run against the Phillies.

"I'm blessed,'' Aaron proudly said of the bond between parents and son. That bond has been there since the first time Patty and Wayne held Aaron in their arms. That happened on the second day of his life.

That's when Patty and Wayne adopted Aaron.

"I feel they kind of picked me,'' Aaron told The Post in a quiet corner of the Yankees clubhouse. "I feel that God was the one that matched us together.''

Yankees prospect Aaron Judge with adoptive parents, Patty and WaynePhoto: Judge family photo

"We're more blessed than he is,'' Patty said. "Both of our children are adopted. Aaron has an older brother John, 29, who is teaching English in Korea, and we're real proud of him, too. Really, it was all meant to be.''

This is a family success story.

Remembering back to that first day, Wayne thought, "It's just a miracle.''

Explained Aaron: "I was about 10 or 11 and we really didn't look alike, so I started asking questions and they told me I was adopted and answered all my questions, and that was that. I was fine with it. It really didn't bother me because that's the only parents I've known.''

Aaron never has had any contact with his biological parents.

How big was Aaron as a baby?

"We kind of joked that he looked like the Michelin Tire baby,'' his father said. "It wasn't long before the 4 ounces of formula was just the appetizer and it had to be the formula with the oatmeal to pacify him.''

Aaron didn't play football his freshman year because he wanted to focus on academics. When Aaron, a three-sport star, started playing football, he excelled as a wide receiver and defensive end. Schools like Stanford, UCLA, Notre Dame wanted him.

"But I just had my heart set on baseball,'' Judge said.

His dad told him about former Yankee Dave Winfield, a 6-foot-6 Hall of Famer who was drafted in all three sports, and pointed to Winfield's comment about choosing baseball because it was easier on his body.

Baseball won.

Judge starred at Fresno State, where both his parents went to college, and was drafted 32nd overall by the Yankees in 2013. At two stops last year at Class-A, Judge hit .308 with 17 home runs, 24 doubles, four triples, 78 RBIs and a .905 OPS.

"It's a super package," said Damon Oppenheimer, the Yankees vice president of scouting. "He's talented and respectful.''

Because of Judge's size, there have been some comparisons to Miami's Giancarlo Stanton.

"People have said, 'Oh, the next Stanton,' but I'm just trying to be the best Judge I can be every day,'' Aaron said. "I've always been about the team aspect of baseball, pass the baton and keep it rolling.''

Noted his father, "Words can't describe how proud of him we are. If it happens to end tomorrow, he's the type of kid who will say, it was meant to be and move on.''
"I'm learning a lot,'' Judge said of his first Yankees camp. "I'm just getting a little taste of it and I want more.

"We have so much young talent coming and everybody here, the veterans, like Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran and Chris Young, have been so helpful. It's like one big family.''

His Yankees family. Big Aaron Judge is at home in pinstripes.


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