Albert Pujols and Aaron Judge are two players on different paths. But, baseball fans get to witness each player chase a historic milestone that will mark their names in the Hall of Fame. Both players are both two home runs away from those special achievements. Pujols is sitting at 698 career home runs, whereas Judge tied Babe Ruth with 60 home runs in a season two nights ago.
It’s certainly one of the most exciting times to watch baseball as these players are shy of greatness. However, there isn’t much time left in the schedule. The St. Louis Cardinals have 12 games left, and the New York Yankees have 14 games remaining.
Albert Pujols and Aaron Judge
Pujols’ 2022 season
Pujols began the season with 679 home runs. Looking back at his past few seasons with the Los Angeles Angles and his short stint with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2021, not many people may have believed he would get this close to 700. The 42-year-old became more prone to injuries. It seemed he was losing his power and swing as the years went on.
On the contrary, Pujols has been one of the Cardinals’ best hitters this year, especially in these last couple of months. It was a blessing that the universal DH rule came into play this season. Paul Goldschmidt is the first baseman, so Pujols would not be getting nearly as much playing time as he is this season.
Besides hitting 19 home runs, Pujols has been very impressive and contributed much from the DH spot. He’s batting .262 with a .851 OPS. In addition, Pujols also has a .362 wOBA (weighted on-base average) in the top 10% of the league. Against lefties, he’s hitting .355 and has a 1.155 OPS.
It’s exhilarating watching one of the best players of all-time trying to reach a milestone like 700 home runs. The other night he hit two singles and was visibly unhappy since it didn’t go over the fence. He wants to reach 700 because, after this season, he will most likely retire. Let’s hope he will hit number 700, and it would be even sweeter if it happened in St. Louis.
Judge’s 2022 season
Aaron Judge has been must-watch TV for the past few months. Not only is Judge just two home runs away from breaking the AL record, but if the season ended today, he would also win the triple crown. The last time a player won the triple crown was Miguel Cabrera in his 2012 AL MVP season. Before that, it was Carl Yastrzemski that held the crown… 55 YEARS AGO.
It is ridiculous how good Judge has been this year. He leads the AL in 10 different hitting categories: AVG (.317 t-1st), RBI (128), HR (60), BB (94), TB (376), R (125), OBP (.418), SLG (.705), OPS (1.124), WAR (9.7). Masterful.
Those who argue that Shohei Ohtani should still win MVP don’t appreciate Judge’s performance this season. It makes sense, and the argument is valid. He puts up pitching stats like Max Fried and hits 35+ home runs in a year. But why is it that Judge still has a higher WAR than Ohtani? Although some may not favor it, WAR has played a huge factor in past MVP races and is an important stat to consider. Also, the Angles are 33.5 games out of first place with no chance of making the playoffs. Who knows where the Yankees would be without Judge? Probably at the bottom of the Wild Card race, if not worse.
The Yankees kick off their four-game series against the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night.
History in the Making
It seems inevitable that Pujols and Judge will reach their respective milestones. It is not a given, but everyone should be rooting for and watching it go down. This is one of the most significant stretches of baseball history in recent memory; you don’t want to miss out.