Another series, another bundle of home runs for Aaron Judge. The Yankees’ superstar has set a scorching pace this September, and on Sunday, he hit his 58th and 59th home runs in a victory over the Brewers. As is customary, I’ve updated our game-by-game odds of him reaching his 60th, 61st, and 62nd home runs in a given game the rest of the season. If you want to see Judge tying Babe Ruth, tying Roger Maris, or leaving every previous Yankees (and American Leaguer) in the dust with 62, you can see our predictions below.
One note: I’ve added a few bells and whistles to this projection to handle Judge’s rest situation. The Yankees have been more aggressive than I expected in terms of getting him into games this September. To reflect that, I’ve changed the way I handle an off day. Previously, I set a specific day and simply gave Judge no plate appearances that day. As we’re getting closer to that scheduled off day, and closer to some milestones, that deterministic way of handling a day off feels wrong to me.
Instead, I’ve created a stochastic Aaron Boone in my simulation. Starting with the second game of the Boston series, the fourth game in a run of nine games in nine days, Boone will consider giving Judge a rest. More specifically, there’s a 10% chance he’ll give him a rest in each game of the Boston series and each game of the subsequent Toronto series. After Judge has received one rest day, though, Boone won’t give him another for the remainder of the season. That works out to a 60% chance of a rest day in aggregate: 10% in each of the last three games of the Boston series and 10% in each game in Toronto. There’s no way of knowing if this is exactly right or not, but I think it comes close to reflecting how Boone will handle Judge.
With that in mind, here’s the distribution of when Judge hits his 60th home run, as obtained by simulating the remainder of the season a million times. If you want to see that one, get to the Bronx with haste:
Aaron Judge 60th Home Run Odds
|Day||Opponent||Home/Away||Odds of Hitting 60th HR|
Reaching 60 is now more a formality than a question. In fact, Judge’s odds of hitting 60, 61, and 62 are all extremely high, even compared to the already-elevated chances of hitting those milestones that I calculated last week:
Odds of Various Aaron Judge Milestone HR Totals
|Feat||Odds on 9/14||Odds on 9/19|
Onward, then, to 61. In aggregate, there’s nearly a 50% chance that he’ll hit that one against the rival Red Sox:
Aaron Judge 61st Home Run Odds
|Day||Opponent||Home/Away||Odds of Hitting 61st HR|
In fact, Judge has set such a blistering pace in the past week that the Toronto series, once the best bet of seeing all three of his 60th, 61st, and 62nd home runs, is barely hanging on to its status as the series with the highest chance of seeing the Maris-beating 62nd. Barely hanging on is still hanging on, though; if you can only attend one game or one series, you should book a ticket for Toronto:
Aaron Judge 62nd Home Run Odds
|Day||Opponent||Home/Away||Odds of Hitting 62nd HR|
This is all subject to change, obviously. The Yankees have an off day tomorrow, but that’s been the only sure way to keep Judge off the board recently. Just for fun, I ran a few versions of higher numbers that Judge could theoretically reach. Per my numbers, he has a 45% chance of reaching the 65-homer plateau, a monumental tally. He has a 1.7% chance of reaching 70, which seemed unthinkable even at the start of the month. And I had to see how likely it was that he’d match Barry Bonds’ all-time record of 73 homers. It’s not likely, obviously; in fact, it only happened 780 times out of a million simulations — .08%, in other words. That rounds to never, but it’s notably not zero.
If you’d told me at the start of the year that someone stood any chance at all of matching Bonds, I wouldn’t have believed you. Judge’s 2022 season has been so good that he’s waking up the echoes of Bonds at his best. I don’t think there’s any better way to describe Judge’s season than to say that he’s bringing back the home run chase era of the early 2000s, all on his own.