New York Yankees See a Futures Dip, Aaron Judge Out Indefinitely

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge sustained a big toe injury when he crashed into the outfield wall at Dodger Stadium three weeks ago. There’s still no specific timeline for his return and the Yankees saw a huge dip in their World Series futures without Judge in the lineup.

Yankees Aaron Judge
New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge, seen here crashing into the bullpen at Dodger Stadium while making a catch against the Los Angeles Dodgers, hasn’t played since due to a toe injury. (Image: Getty)

In 49 games this season, Judge hit 19 home runs and drove in 40 RBI. He had a slashline of .291/.404/.674.

Prior to the toe injury, Judge was on pace to hit over 50 home runs and drive in 110 RBI for the third time in his career.

Judge is the reigning American League MVP. With 62 home runs last season, he set an AL record for most dingers in a season. Judge also set a Yankees’ franchise record when he passed Roger Maris who set the original record in 1961 with 61 home runs. Babe Ruth set the MLB single-season record in 1927 with 60 home runs in 151 games.

Maris had an asterisk next to his name in the record books because he broke the record during a 162-game season, and he appeared in 161 games in 1961. Ruth initially set the record when the MLB season was 154 games. Judge finished last season with 62 home runs in 157 total games.

Yankees Vague on Severity of Injury

Judge still experiences pain in his right big toe when he walks. He underwent two platelet-rich plasma injections to reduce the swelling, but the pain still lingers.

The Yankees and Judge haven’t revealed the severity of the injury. Sprains and strains are assessed using a grading system to gauge the severity of the injury. The Yankees didn’t reveal one, which led to speculation that it’s the worst-case scenario with a grade 3 or torn ligament.

I don’t know a level,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. “The reality is he’s just not yet at a level where he can play. Aaron feels like he’s getting better every day and able to do a little bit more each and every day, but not to the point where he’s running and doing full baseball stuff yet.”

“I’ve had different injuries over the years where it’s gonna take a while,” Judge told The Athletic. “It’s not gonna be perfect in a couple of weeks. Once we can manage the pain, we’re going to be in a good spot.”

“We just got to continue to wait and get him there,” added Boone. “He’s obviously as tough as they come. He wants to be back out there.”

The Yankees play 13 more games before the All-Star break in mid-July. Nine of their upcoming games are against losing teams, including the Oakland A’s, St. Louis Cardinals, and Chicago Cubs. The Yankees also host the Baltimore Orioles for a four-game home stand at the start of next week.

The Yankees start the second half of the season with a six-game road trip out West against the Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Angels.

Injuy Derails Judge After Two Healthy Seasons

A bidding war broke out last offseason with multiple teams competing for Judge’s services. The Yankees had the inside track, but a couple of National League teams made their pitch for the AL MVP.

Judge grew up in Northern California, which is why the San Francisco Giants thought they could lure Judge to the Bay Area. The San Diego Padres were willing to back up a Brink’s truck and dump a mountain of cash on Judge’s front lawn. The Padres offered Judge $400 million, which was a tempting offer.

Despite the courtship out West, Judge signed a nine-year contract with the Yankees worth $360 million. He remained with the Yankees with the intention to eventually retire in pinstripes by playing his entire big league career in the Bronx.

Aside from his rookie season when he appeared in 155 games. Judge struggled with injuries. He missed 50 games in 2018, and 60 games in 2019. Even during the pandemic-shortened season of 2020, Judge missed more than half the season and appeared in just 28 out of 60 games.

Judge was relatively healthy in the previous two seasons. He sat out 14 games in 2021 and missed just five in 2022. He set a career record with 157 games played last season. It also marked only the second time he logged more than 150 games in five eligible full seasons.

Judge appeared in only 49 games this season, and he’s missed 29 already. Since the injury, the Yankees are 7-10.

It’s been a tough first half for the Yankees. Their pitching staff endured serious injuries to key hurlers, but they hope that left-handed starter Carlos Rodon can return in the second half of the season.

MLB Futures: Yankees Fall Without Judge

The Yankees are 43-35 in 2023. They occupy third place in the American League East, which is one of the tougher divisions in the big leagues this season. The Yankees might be the third-best team in the AL East, but they’re ranked #4 in the AL, and only seven teams have won more games this season.

FanGraphs predicts the Yankees have a 4.7% chance to win the division. They have a 58.9% chance to qualify for the playoffs via the AL wild card and have a 63.7% chance to make the playoffs outright. The Yankees only have a 3.7% chance to win the World Series. Ten other teams have a better chance to win the championship according to FanGraph’s projections.

The Yankees are -225 odds to advance to the postseason, according to a playoffs prop bet by DraftKings. You can fade the Yankees and bet against them to miss the playoffs at +190 odds.

The Yankees initially thought Judge would spend a short stint on the IL with the toe injury. In early June, the Yankees were +950 odds to win the World Series, and +500 odds to win the AL pennant.

With Judge out indefinitely, the injury drastically altered the futures market. The Yankees are now +1300 odds to win the 2023 World Series as the sixth-highest team on DraftKings’ MLB futures board. The Yankees also saw their AL pennant odds dip to +700.

The Tampa Bay Rays are the betting favorite to win the AL East at -400 odds, followed by the Baltimore Orioles (+750), Yankees (+800), Toronto Blue Jays (+1200), and Boston Red Sox (+10000). The Rays (54-27) hold a 4.5-game edge over the second-place Orioles (47-29) and a 9.5-game lead over the third-place Yankees (43-35).

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