OPINION: Aaron Judge VS Michael Confoto, The Battle Of New York Few Are Watching
The first two months of baseball have been dominated by one name in New York – Aaron Judge. And this flurry of discussion around the 25-year-old, 6 foot 7 inches, 282 pound, home run monster is certainly deserved. In 149 at bats, Judge has clobbered 15 homers, knocked in 30 runs, and is hitting for an impressive .315 average. Beyond his statistics, he looks like a video game character, dwarfing his opponents as he moves like a regular sized uber-athlete around the field in number 99. He has blocked the spotlight for all other New York baseball players thus far.
But a few boroughs over, Michael Conforto, the Mets’ 24-year-old, regular sized outfielder, is hitting just as well as Judge, and saving his team from the brinks of death while doing it.
Judge has been named king – a section of seats have been designated for the California native in Yankee Stadium, titled “The Judge’s Chambers,” and he is now getting comparisons the the last Yankee great, Derek Jeter.
Conforto, on the other hand, while certainly has been praised for his season, he also certainly hasn’t been called the next David Wright and there aren’t any seats at Citi Field named after him. But Conforto’s and Judge’s hitting statistics are nearly identical.
Runs Scored: Judge, 36, Conforto, 35
Hits: Judge, 47, Conforto, 46
Home Runs: Judge, 15, Conforto, 13
Average: Judge, .315, Conforto, .336
OPS: Judge, 1.098, Conforto, 1.123
And the statistics aren’t where the similarities end. Both Judge and Conforto had dreadful campaigns in 2016 and neither were expected to hit as well as they have hit this go around in 2017. They are both fairly quiet players, embedded with the old-timer’s baseball attitude, not in tune with the flashy, social-media friendly, bat-flip throwing, attitude of today’s players.
Still, Judge has gotten all of the attention and all of the shine.
But here’s the thing: Conforto shouldn’t get the shine just because he’s hitting as well as Judge. Instead, pundits and fans alike should start to focus on what is turning into a historical hitting race in America’s greatest baseball city. If both Judge and Conforto continue on their individual warpaths at the plate, the end result will be far greater than the sum of its parts.
Because the Mets are slowly squandering away the season, it is unlikely a true Mets-Yankees rivalry will be back in fashion any time soon but Judge and Conforto can give us the next best thing – a tit-for-tat game of horse, filled with cracking wooden bats under the summer’s heat, and with crowds of baseball fans cheering from the Bronx to Queens as one player hits a home run right after the other.