Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage, and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s OK, though. We’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
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Over the course of a season, we experience a barrage of amazing baseball things. Enormous home runs, fabulous plays in the field, great starting pitching performances, brilliant relief appearances. And looking back over the first half of the 2017 season, it's hard to put everything we've seen into context. But with Aaron Judge, who at this point is pretty much a human home run machine, it's actually pretty easy to put his accomplishments into context.
In just 81 games, Judge has tied a rookie record that was set by one of the Yankees' most sacred alumni: Joltin' Joe DiMaggio. Judge hit his 29th home run in Wednesday's Yankees-Blue Jays game, the same amount that DiMaggio hit in his rookie season in 1936. The big difference? DiMaggio hit 29 home runs in 138 games. Judge's came in 81 games, so he's going to smash that record to smithereens by the end of this season.
Midway through the season, Judge hasn't just tied (and will soon break) a long-set rookie mark, but he's also a legitimate MVP contender. He currently leads the AL in on-base percentage, slugging, runs scored, total bases, RBI, walks, and home runs. On Tuesday, the man hit a line-drive home run that traveled so fast that it left an actual dent in Yankee Stadium. It's insane. Oh, and Judge is also going to put his swing and strength on display at the Home Run Derby on July 10. The bracket has been set up so a finale between Judge and Giancarlo Stanton is possible. Sometimes it's hard to be a baseball fan, but Aaron Judge is an embarrassment of riches, and he's been making it so, so easy.
- Clayton Kershaw is so, so good, and Grant Brisbee thinks that makes him the most watchable player in baseball.
- A year later, Over the Monster is sure that the Red Sox won the Drew Pomeranz trade.
- The Orioles have seemingly ignored the international amateur free agent market yet again, and it will continue to cost them in the long term.
- A Yankees reclamation project named Billy McKinney is starting to pay dividends, because the Yankees definitely need more luck.
- The crew at Let's Go Tribe have become temporary Royals fans, because sucking would mean a fire sale, and a fire sale would mean their division rival would restock its farm system.
- The Nationals desperately need a dependable reliever, but how much are they willing to pay to get what they need?
- Kevin Maitan is the latest highly touted Braves prospect, but is he the *most* hyped? Talking Chop takes a look at the Braves' history of hyped prospects.
- Jon Gray hit his first career home run on Wednesday, the longest for a pitcher since 2015. And he was so happy he did a little skip move out of the box!