- Aaron Judge said its frustrating when pitches below his knees are called strikes.
- Judge is 6-foot-7 and has one of the highest strikeout rates in baseball.
- Judge also said he doesn’t see any sense in arguing the calls however.
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New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge revealed his frustration with the lower part of his strike zone on Monday.
Judge, who is 6-foot-7, admitted that it “hurts” when umpires call pitches that clip the area around his knees as strikes during an interview with Evan Roberts and Craig Carton on WFAN New York Sports radio.
“As a competitor, I want every single pitch, and I fight not to swing at those pitches below my knees,” Judge said. “When they’re facing me … they don’t want to throw it over the plate, they don’t want to give [me] anything to hit, so they’re going to try to nibble, and when they get rewarded for throwing things off the plate, it hurts.”
Judge’s bigger strike zone has evidently worked against him in the past. In 2018, Judge saw 160 pitches in the “borderline” area at the bottom of the strike zone; 71 of those pitches were called strikes – 44.3% – compared to the 22.8% league average, according to baseball savant.
Judge’s chronic strikeouts were the main knock against his skillset as a prospect, and the problem extended into his major league career. In 2017, despite winning AL Rookie of The Year, Judge led baseball in strikeouts with 208. Judge recorded 152 and 141 strikeouts in 2018 and 2019, respectively, despite missing over 50 games to injury each year.
Pitchers getting calls on balls that nibble near Judge’s knees certainly don’t help his efforts to reduce those numbers, but for him, it’s still not an issue worth arguing with umpires.
“I see it as ‘why am I going to sit up there and complain? What’s that going to do for me?’ Besides, they might screw me over on another call later in the game,” Judge said. “If I’m focused on the calls the umpires make and this and that then it’s going to get away from my plan of putting the bat on the ball.”
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