This is no exaggeration: You have never seen a baseball player like the one visiting the Rays at Tropicana Field this weekend.
There have been plenty of tall players (Randy Johnson) and plenty of wide players (Bartolo Colon), but no one has possessed a greater combination of height and weight (6-foot-7, 282 pounds) than Yankees slugger Aaron Judge. Even George Herman Ruth would look miniature standing next to him.
The 25-year-old outfielder is so massive you have to go outside the sport to find a more apt comp. If he put on a football jersey and pads, he'd look like an offensive lineman. He's Shaquille O'Neal, but with sleeves and pants. If Andre the Giant was the eighth wonder of the world, Judge is the ninth.
And, oh, he can hit baseballs really, really hard and really, really far.
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Aaron the Giant: How Judge compares
Judge is only slightly leaner than Demar Dotson, who at 6-foot-9 and 315 pounds is Tampa Bay's largest athlete.
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Rare size, rare success
The list of 6-foot-7 (or taller) major-league players is a short one: Judge is No. 140. He is the 39th to also weigh at least 240 pounds.
As the chart below shows, success for the 38 giants before Judge has been rare. Only seven have had careers worth at least 10 Wins Above Replacement (a solid, everyday starter is worth 2-3 WAR a season). Judge, one of just four position players in this sample (Frank Howard, Nate Freiman and Steven Moya are the others), already has compiled 1.9 WAR and he hasn't even played a half season's worth of games.
The Rays have rostered four players, all pitchers.
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Highest hard-hit rates this season
A power hitter's goal isn't merely to put the ball in play — his goal is to hit the ball hard. The harder the ball is hit, the less time the defense has to react. When Judge's bat meets the ball, he makes hard contact 46.5 percent of the time, the ninth-best rate in baseball. The owner of the fourth-best rate might surprise you. At 48.0 percent, it's Rays infielder Tim Beckham. The MLB average is 31.9 percent.
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Judge is responsible for 10 of the 35 hardest-hit balls this season, as measured by exit velocity, which is the speed of the ball after it is hit. While four of those came at the expense of Rays pitchers, only one resulted in a hit. The other pitchers weren't so lucky.
|MLB rank||Exit velocity (mph)||Distance (feet)||Result||Pitcher||Pitch speed (mph)||Date|
|1||119.4||435||Home run||Kevin Gausman||97.1||April 28|
|2||119.0||227||Double||Kyle Hendricks||85.2||May 5|
|7||117.2||22||Field out||Alex Cobb||91.3||April 10|
|8||116.5||162||Single||Jumbo Diaz||98.4||April 12|
|15||115.9||342||Single||Tyler Wilson||91.2||April 9|
|20||115.6||457||Home run||Antonio Bastardo||89.4||April 22|
|23||115.5||448||Home run||Dylan Covey||77.7||April 19|
|24||115.5||132||Double play||Erasmo Ramirez||91.1||April 5|
|27||114.9||354||Double||Lance McCullers Jr.||84.2||May 12|
|34||114.6||142||Fielders choice||Alex Cobb||91.4||April 5|
Statistics in this report are from Baseball Reference, the Lahman Baseball Database, Fangraphs and MLB Statcast and are current through Thursday's games. Thomas Bassinger can be reached at [email protected] Follow @tometrics.