Former Fresno State Star Aaron Judge Wins AL MVP Award

Former Fresno State Star Aaron Judge Wins AL MVP Award

Fresno State

Former Fresno State Star Aaron Judge Wins AL MVP Award


Former Fresno State Star Aaron Judge Wins MLB’s MVP Award

Judge caps a big year with hardware

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Well deserved win

Aaron Judge, the former Fresno State Bulldog was just named MVP, completing a season so spectacular that the word “historic” might even be a bit of an understatement  

With 28 first-place votes and two second-place votes, the near-unanimous MVP left little doubt about his value this season. But this wasn’t just any MVP year. Judge started the season by taking a high-stakes flyer on himself, then, facing one of the most formidable opponents baseball has ever seen, shattered records on his way to the MVP award. 

Judge, a northern-California native, played three seasons for the Bulldogs. While there, he was a three-time first-team all-conference player and he helped guide Fresno State from the WAC into the Mountain West before being drafted by the New York Yankees with the 32nd pick of the 2013 draft.  

His habit of collecting accolades began as a freshman. In his debut season, Judge was named a Freshman All-American, WAC Freshman of the Year, and made first-team All-WAC. From there, hardware became habit. Over the course of his next two campaigns, he participated in and won the College Home Run Derby, led his team to a WAC tournament championship, was named first-team All-WAC for a second time, then first-team All-WAC. 

He earned all that hardware by batting .385 as a freshman, .332 as a sophomore, and .369 as a junior, with a combined 18 home runs, 39 RBIs, 205 hits, 36 stolen bases, 130 runs, and 41 doubles. 

Big numbers have always defined Judge’s career, but his career is about to be defined by the biggest number of all. This offseason, Judge is set to sign a contract that is projected to more than double his current salary. Judge is about to land the biggest number of his career.

Judge isn’t allowed to gamble on sports, but by way of salary negotiations, he placed a massive wager on himself. He is still waiting to cash out, but it appears he hit the jackpot. 

Prior to his MVP season, Judge was offered a seven-year, $213.5 million contract extension by the Yankees. This would have given him the second-highest annual salary of any outfielder in the league. Judge didn’t think it was enough. 

In an age of increasing player empowerment, it would not be hard to imagine a scenario in which a jaded all-star refuses to play for his current team on the basis of compensation disagreements and sits out for some or most of a contract year. Instead, Judge simply declined the offer and paused negotiations during the season. He didn’t stop there, though. Then, set out with vengeance, on a mission to show the Yankees, and the other 29 teams, why he is worth the cash. 

Although the Yankees indicated that they would be willing to continue talks through the season, Judge refused. “This is the deadline,’’ Judge said at the time, according to USA TODAY. “I don’t want to be a distraction during the year. We got so many things to focus on. A lot of good things are happening here. I don’t want it to be a distraction for my teammates.’’ So, negotiations stopped, and the attention turned to Judge’s performance. 


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